Investors will be able to buy shares in Canada’s first publicly-traded medical marijuana company starting Friday.
Tweed Marijuana Inc., one of 12 producers licensed so far by Health Canada, expects its shares to begin trading on the Toronto Venture Exchange when the opening bell rings Friday. It will be listed under the stock ticker TWD.
The company has executed a reverse takeover of shell company LW Capital Pool Inc., a deal in which Tweed bought the public company in order to bypass the lengthy and complex process of undergoing an initial public offering.
About 65 per cent of the shares will be available to the public, and are expected to start trading at 85 cents, said chairman Bruce Linton.
“I can’t translate what demand will be, but if interest is an indicator, we get daily calls that come from all over North America” from people interested in investing in the market, he said.
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A view of Tweed Inc.’s mother room, where plants are subjected to 24 hours of light each day to encourage growth.
The Tweed Inc. medical marijuana facility is across the street from the Smith’s Falls police detachment. The police have toured the plant and had one request: don’t put a giant marijuana leaf on the front of the building.
Tweed CEO Chuck Rifici stands in front of the hydroponics centre. The black vats contain fertilizer, while the silver ones are refurbished sugar containers from the Hershey’s operation which now contain water.
Tweed has been busy transforming the former chocolate factory into a massive marijuana growing operation that will cover 150,000 square feet.
A Tweed employee re-pots some plants in the “mother room,” home to the 1,300 starter plants that are used to propagate more.
Rifici stands in front of the company’s 5,000-square-foot vault that can store up to 15 million grams, or $150 million-worth, of dried marijuana.
Each of Tweed’s plants is labelled with a bar code identifying its strain and origin so that it can be traced throughout the growing process.
Rifici stands in front of the highly secure and sanitary mother room.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are Tweed’s biggest expense, but the company also uses low-tech fans from Canadian Tire to keep air flowing.
The entrance to the Tweed facility.
The golden letters that once adorned the front of the Hershey’s factory now lie in an unused corner of the building.
The old Hershey’s Canada plant was shuttered in 2008, putting some 600 people out of work.
NEXT: WHICH PROVINCE TOKES THE MOST?
Canada - 12.2 Per Cent
3,429,678 people These are the <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130918/dq130918a-eng.htm" target="_blank">StatsCan totals</a> for Canadians age 15 years and older in the 12 months of 2012. Use included cannabis and hashish.
10. Saskatchewan - 10.1 Per Cent
9. P.E.I. - 10.4 Per Cent
8. New Brunswick - 11 Per Cent
7. Newfoundland And Labrador - 11.1 Per Cent
6. Quebec - 11.5 Per Cent
5. Manitoba - 11.5 Per Cent
4. Alberta - 11.8 Per Cent
3. Ontario - 12.1 Per Cent
2. B.C. - 14.2 Per Cent
1. Nova Scotia - 14.8 Per Cent
115,285 people <a href="http://huff.to/18g3q4l" target="_blank">Trailer Park Boys thesis proved</a>.
NEXT: WEED PRICES BY PROVINCE AND STATE
Pot price by province and select U.S. states
This data is based on crowdsourced averages from PriceOfWeed.com. Numbers are for "high quality" weed, as identified by submitters.
Quebec: $191.51 per ounce
Cheapest weed in Canada.
Prince Edward Island: $193.29 per ounce
New Brunswick: $193.90 per ounce
British Columbia: $200.07 per ounce
Oregon: $214.79 per ounce
Cheapest weed in the U.S.
Alberta: $226.55 per ounce
Manitoba: $227.86 per ounce
Ontario: $237.24 per ounce
Saskatchewan: $239.31 per ounce
California: $249.79 per ounce
Nova Scotia: $272.26 per ounce
Newfoundland and Labrador: $292.73 per ounce
Northwest Territories: $333.33 per ounce
New York State: $353.90 per ounce
North Dakota: $415.89 per ounce
Most expensive weed in the U.S.
Most expensive weed in Canada.
The takeover process has been ongoing since January, with regulatory review happening in tandem.
“If you look at how long it took us versus a standard mining company, I bet it took us longer and had a lot more people working on it.” he said.
Tweed, which operates out of a converted Hershey’s factory in Smiths Falls, Ont., has yet to ship any product to customers, but it started signing up patients in February. Its marijuana is expected to be ready for harvest and sale later this month.
“The ladies are doing very well,” Linton said, a reference to the fact that all marijuana plants in the company’s “mother room” are female (pollen from male plants makes the female plants less potent).
Tweed was one of the first companies to secure a licence to grow and sell dried marijuana to patients under Health Canada’s new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, which took effect April 1.
The new rules make it illegal for licensed marijuana patients to grow their own, or from small-scale growers, requiring all patients to buy from licensed manufacturers like Tweed.
But a court-granted injunction has allowed patients with a licence to grow to continue to produce their own product until a trial is heard. Health Canada announced last week that it would appeal that temporary motion.
The court ruling threw a wrench into Ottawa’s plans to convert the medical marijuana program in Canada into a highly regulated commercial industry that it estimates to be worth some $1.3 billion annually within a decade.
It expects the number of patients to grow from about 40,000 to some 400,000 during the same period.
The market’s potential for growth has raised a huge amount of interest in the sector. Everyone from currently licensed patients to junior mining companies is looking to jump on board the green rush. Health Canada has received some 600 applications from those looking for a federal license to start growing and selling the controversial medicine.
Penny stock mining and oil companies have jumped at the chance to be associated with medical marijuana, a phenomenon that has sent their share prices soaring at the mere mention of the herb.
But Tweed will be the first Canadian company with an actual business that is federally authorized to earn revenue from marijuana that is listed on a public stock exchange.
The U.S., where medical marijuana is expected to become a $10-billion industry, already has an established market for medical marijuana stocks. Share prices have been on fire this year.