As Canadian legislators continued to stall and the infrastructure necessary to run a national recreational cannabis industry remained unbuilt, it seemed all signs pointed to Canada missing its proposed timeline of marijuana legalization. That original mark of July as the month legal recreational marijuana sales would start in Canada has now been pushed back at least a month by Canadian officials.
The problem relies on the provincial level. From a federal perspective, the Canadian Senate is expected to vote on legislation that will authorize recreational cannabis sales by June 7, 2018. In fact, the votes appear to be there as well and Canadian officials expect no delay in that regard.
The problem lies with Canadian provinces. Estimates state the provinces will need another 8 to 12 weeks to finalize recreational marijuana sales within their individual provinces, according to health minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor. The health minister further clarified that Canada intends to begin all marijuana sales simultaneously, meaning one province dragging its feet could put the whole country behind.
Canadian residents aren’t the only ones dismayed at such news. It’s also thrown the Canadian marijuana stocks in flux as pretty much all major Canadian marijuana growers saw drops. “Canopy Growth (NASDAQOTH: TWMJF) stock fell nearly six percent on the news of a delay. Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQOTH: ACBFF) and Aphria (NASDAQOTH: APHQF) slipped seven percent, while MedReleaf (NASDAQOTH: MEDFF) stock dropped eight percent,” according to Madison.com.
It hurts companies like Aurora Cannabis more than just a drop in stock value. By all accounts, Aurora paid a fortune to have first to market rights over competitors. Not only the expense to build its Aurora Sky facilities, they also claimed the largest marijuana acquisition in history with the $852 million buyout of CanniMed Therapeutics. That gave them an advantage to become a premium supplier when the July 2018 rollout started. Now the delay my give competitors a chance to catch up.
What remains a scary proposition for investors and citizens? A further delay of a proper release date is still a distinct possibility in Canada.