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Nov 15, 2018

Ontario’s pot retail plan will bring ‘big wave’ to Canopy’s Q2: Linton

Canopy shares bounce a day after disappointing earnings

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The chairman and co-chief executive officer of Canopy Growth Corp. is praising Ontario’s retail cannabis plan, saying it will create a big wave in the recreational marijuana market in the next quarter.

“I think the good news is they’re pounding ahead with the system,” Bruce Linton said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Thursday. “Whether or not we have four stores or affiliates for 10, or whatever, what we need in Ontario are about 250 stores rather than the 35 that was the prior plan,” he added, referring to Ontario’s previous Liberal government’s proposal.

“So I think the plan is going to be a great one – because if you are trying to compete with the illicit market and going to the cannabis store involves a three-hour drive, I’m feeling pretty good for the pusher man having an advantage over us.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government said Wednesday cannabis operators in the province will be allowed to operate as many as 75 stores each.  

“I think this is going to be a big wave that hits sometime in Q2, where the stores are full and they’re going to have a lot of Tweed product,” Linton said.  

While it remains unclear if companies owned in part by licensed growers will be able to open more than one location, Linton said he expects Canopy to have at least four stores, and with one in Smiths Falls, Ont., where the company is based.

Canopy reported revenue of $23.3 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from $25.9 million in the fiscal first quarter on Wednesday, falling short of analyst estimates and sending Canopy shares tumbling. The company’s share recovered on the Toronto Stock Exchange Thursday, trading 4.81 per cent higher as of 12:47 p.m. ET.  

The company’s medical marijuana sales declined in the quarter, which Linton attributed to timing issues with delivering shipments to Germany and patients waiting to buy cannabis in stores after legalization.

But despite the slowdown, Linton told BNN Bloomberg he sees medical pot as a big area of growth over the next year.  

“I think over the mid-term, medical is going to be a very big business because there are literally hundreds of millions of people who will be governed under a medical-only system in Europe, South America, Australia – and that’s going to mean that whatever we invent in Canada, we can actually export the intellectual property to those other medical jurisdictions,” he said.

“So I’d keep an eye on medical as probably the big upside for the next year.”

Cannabis Canada is BNN Bloomberg’s in-depth series exploring the stunning formation of the entirely new – and controversial – Canadian recreational marijuana industry. Read more from the special series here and subscribe to our Cannabis Canada newsletter to have the latest marijuana news delivered directly to your inbox every day.