Canada's largest publicly traded producer of medical marijuana is making the case for the quality of weed grown by large-scale manufacturers compared to home-grown bud.
© Cole Burston
Bruce Linton is CEO of Canopy Growth Corp., parent company of Tweed Marijuana and Bedrocan.
The difference between cannabis grown at home instead of marijuana from a big producer is the same as drinking a "home brew" versus a good bottle of wine, Bruce Linton, chairman and CEO of Canopy Growth Corp. (TSXV:CGC), said Thursday during a call with analysts.
"People say: 'It's just soil, it grows easily,'" he said. "No, no, no – quality and consistency doesn't happen without chemicals unless you're running a proper facility."
Mr. Linton added that the Smith Falls company – which operates Bedrocan Canada Inc. and Tweed Marijuana Inc. – is unfazed by Wednesday's court ruling that will permit patients to continue to grow pot at home.
Federal Court Judge Michael Phelan struck down a law introduced by the former Conservative government that required patients to buy cannabis through the mail from licensed producers, ruling it was an "arbitrary and overbroad" violation of charter rights.
Instead, Mr. Linton said, allowing patients to continue to grow their own weed will be "good advertising" for his company once they realize that Canopy's product is far superior.
"We've never been fussed," said Mr. Linton, adding that he doesn't think the decision will "materially impact" the company's business.
Canopy – which currently produces medical marijuana via Bedrocan – says it's also ramping up preparations to supply marijuana to recreational users when the laws change, something it expects to happen soon.
Mr. Linton also anticipates the federal Liberal government will also have to revise current rules governing what types of medical marijuana products can be sold. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana users can legally use various forms of the drug, including oils.
"I think the intent of the government is two things: get the bad guys out and get the product out of the hands of kids, and they don't intend to have us sell only light beer and (leave) only wine- and liquor-equivalent sales and the LCBO to the bad guys," he said.
On Thursday, the company was given the go-ahead to begin selling cannabis oils. The 100-ml bottles, a mix of sunflower and cannabis oils, are priced between $95 to $155.
In its latest quarterly results, Canopy reported exponential revenue and sales volume, but the company remains unprofitable.
Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 was $3.5 million, up from just $641,000 a year earlier.
It sold 462,000 grams at an average price of $7.34 per gram during the period, Canopy's fiscal third quarter. That compares with 87,000 grams at $7.04 per gram in the comparable period a year earlier.
Net loss was $3.3 million or four cents per share, compared with $2.6 million or seven cents per share a year earlier when there were fewer shares outstanding.