Stars Align Over Canadian Cannabis

As Canada begins the final march to the legalization of recreational cannabis in July 2018, the stars have aligned for public licensed producers (LPs) or advanced Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) license applicants.

2017 was a very good year for both LP and ACMPR applicants with market caps exceeding even the wildest expectations. With legal recreational cannabis on the horizon, the top four cannabis companies in Canada – Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, Aphria, and MedReleaf – have grown to a combined market cap of more than $15 billion (that’s with a “b”, folks). Smaller LP and those ACMPR applicants close to receiving their license, also faired well in 2017. This meteoric increase can likely be attributed to various forecasts that estimate that the medical and recreational cannabis market could grow to $5-10 billion within three years.

Canadian-focused cannabis companies have to thank the Canadian government for additional buoyancy in their share prices and enterprise valuations as it has instituted a model framework for creating a robust domestic medical (and soon to be recreational) cannabis industry. Health Canada embraced the benefits of medical cannabis and in September 2013 announced changes in legislation to create a free market for the controlled substance and opened the door for large-scale, publicly funded, legal grow operations. On July 1, 2018, recreational cannabis is to be legalized across Canada.

Meanwhile, south of the border, the recent action by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind the Obama-era policy of non-interference with cannabis-friendly state laws, poses a crackdown by federal prosecutors across the U.S. This crackdown can only benefit Canadian LPs as they grow and establish their businesses unhindered north of the border. The Canadian framework for medical, and now recreational cannabis, has given Canadian companies the “first-mover advantage” with respect to the international cannabis market place. Canada is only one of three countries allowing exports of medical cannabis. The Netherlands and Uruguay also allow exports, and Australia is expected to remove the export ban in February 2018. So, as companies in the U.S. and other jurisdictions must wait and see, Canadian companies are rapidly forging ahead to increase their capacity, refine grow operations and improve product offerings to customers.

PUF Ventures (publicly traded on The CSE under the symbol PUF) has attempted to seize opportunities that afford diversification in terms of product, scalability and geographic reach. Over the past year, through the hard work of its dedicated management team and board along with the patience of the shareholder base, PUF has gone from being a late-stage ACMPR applicant with a small facility, to a vertically integrated international cannabis enterprise with continued promise. As an adjunct to the expansion of its ACMPR applicant AAA Heidelberg facility in London, Ontario, PUF founded Solaris Nutraceuticals (formerly PUF Ventures Australia), which is developing a 1.2-million-square-foot medicinal cannabis cultivation facility with the capacity to produce over 100,000 kg per year of high-quality medical cannabis. PUF also acquired a 100% interest in Natures Hemp Corp., which is developing proprietary hemp-based food and medicinal products in partnership with a major Canadian university.

The stars seem to have aligned over Canadian cannabis companies, and 2018 is sure to be another action-packed year in this rapidly evolving industry.

Derek Ivany is President & CEO of PUF Ventures (CSE:PUF). PUF Ventures is a growth-oriented and diversified company focused on the international cannabis industry. It has ownership in several cannabis companies: AAA Heidelberg, Solaris Nutraceuticals Pty. Ltd., Weed Points Loyalty Inc. and Natures Hemp Corp., and is actively pursuing other opportunities within the industry.