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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

World news for January 2018 - by Kathy Hess

Canadian Marijuana Stocks on Fire

CANADA:  Short-selling Canadian marijuana stocks can be very expensive due to the fact that companies are continuing to climb which leaves few shares available to borrow, which happens to be a key step in betting against a security.  The brokerages of Canadian banks don’t trade those stocks, and smaller firms charge prohibitive interest rates to lend them.

“It’s harder to find that borrow, and that borrow is very expensive,” said Matt Bottomley, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity Group. “It’s a hard industry to short.”

Canadian marijuana stocks are on the rise as the nation is headed for legalization by July. The country’s top four producers are now worth more than $7.8 billion after Canopy Growth Corp., more than doubled this year,  Aurora Cannabis Inc. more than tripled,  Aphria gained more than 180 percent and MedReleaf Corp. has climbed more than 60 percent since its June debut. While investor optimism is being fueled by estimates that there could be $6 billion (in Canadian currency) in recreational sales by 2021, Canada is still working out the details of how they will regulate, tax and distribute the products, and some publicly traded companies have not made a sale.  And also, some analysts are skeptical about their demand projections.

But any investor who is willing to bet those risks will bring down the value of the stocks, would have to pay a high price. The annual interest rate to short Aurora,  Aphria or MedReleaf is up 20 percent.

The problem is most of the Canadian marijuana stocks are small to companies held by small retail investors who don’t have margin accounts for short trades. The higher loan fee means there’s barely any stock left to short, and those investors who chose to take short positions in the market have already lost money.

In short-selling, investors sell stocks that they borrowed when prices are high, with the intention of buying them cheap later when they have to return the shares to the lender. They profit from the price difference minus the cost of borrowing.

London Discovers Mental Health Benefits of CBD Oil

LONDON: Doctors in London have discovered some mental health benefits of a key component of medical marijuana. They are calling it an “entirely new” type of treatment for mental health patients suffering with hallucinations and delusions.

CBD Oil is commonly used to treat chronic pain. However, more recently, the first clinical trial exploring the effects of cannabidiol (CBD), found that it could relieve symptoms in patients with psychosis.

CBD has a broadly opposite effect to THC, the main active component in cannabis that causes paranoia and anxiety.
CBD does not give a patient the feeling of being high so there is little recreational benefit.

This led to CBD being studied as a potential therapy for mental health conditions, epilepsy, and in Parkinson’s disease.

Psychosis is a mental health diagnosis in which effect patients by way of hallucinated voices or visions, or delusions where patients have strong and unfounded beliefs, such as feeling there is a conspiracy to harm them.

Antipsychotic drugs have been used in treating it for 60 years, but they have serious side effects and the effectiveness of the drugs is question

Professor Philip McGuire, from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, was the lead author of the study.

He said conventional drugs acted by blocking biological receptors for mood-altering chemical dopamine. 

“However, dopamine is not the only neurotransmitter whose function is altered in psychosis, and in some patients dopamine function may be relatively normal,” he added.

The trial ultimately found that patients given a CBD treatment saw statistically significant improvements in their psychosis symptoms compared to a group given a placebo.

The 83 patients, from the UK, Romania and Poland, also saw significant improvements in their health and severity of their illness as measured by their therapists.

Manitoba First Nations Say Yes to Legal Marijuana Sales

Three Manitoba First Nations have recently joined forces to help establish a cannabis distribution network in the province.

Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Long Plain First Nation, and Peguis First Nation alongside National Access Cannabis, a health-care service provider that helps patients access medical cannabis through a licensed producer, are joining forces to ensure that pot sales are legalized.

Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches said cannabis is a great economic opportunity for First Nations.

“Although the cannabis industry might not be the saviour for our First Nations, Indigenous people, it will go a long way in helping provide sustainable development in the years to come,” he said. “Our people need to work. We need to lift our people out of poverty … the struggle for economic independence is real.”

NAC and the three First Nations are working hard at finalizing a proposal to be one of the province’s licenced retailers.

Pot Activist Charged for Passing Out Marijuana Seeds

CALGARY, CANADA: An appeal has been filed by federal Crown prosecutors in Alberta in a case involving B.C. pot activist Dana Larsen.
The appeal is an attempt to convince the court that previous drug possession and trafficking charges should still be brought against the Vancouver man who led a failed referendum to relax marijuana enforcement laws in 2013..

In April 2016, Larsen, now 46, was arrested in Calgary after he handed out marijuana seeds to attendees of his 14-City speaking tour. Larsen handed out the seeds in effort to encourage people to grow their own marijuana.

He was initially charged on counts of drug possession and trafficking, but they were eventually thrown out after his lawyer Kirk Tousaw argued that Larsen's rights were violated because it took too long for the case to make it through the court system.

A date has not been set for Larsen's next appearance in Calgary, although he expects it to visit sometime in the spring or summer.

He says six months will have to be set aside to argue the application that the case featured unfair delays. He's also surprised about the appeal because of delays Alberta's courts are facing.

Alberta prosecutors warned "Whatever you think about cannabis, it should be lower on the list," he said.

Still Larsen admits that handing out marijuana seeds wasn't the smartest idea. He also says that he knows that it was against the law and he's willing to accept responsibility if the court eventually rules against him.

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