The London Stock Exchange appears to be setting the early pace as the European home for the legal cannabis industry. Weekend reports suggest that European Cannabis Holdings has enlisted the services of Canaccord Genuity to promote a planned public listing on the London Stock Exchange later this year.
A Sunday Times report indicates that an initial valuation of more than £100 million is being targeted. Canaccord Genuity has helped a significant number of legal cannabis companies drum up investor interest prior to listing on Canadian stock exchanges, where the large majority of public companies in the sector are listed.
European Cannabis Holdings (ECH) becomes the second company in the legal cannabis sector to begin gearing up for a London listing this year. Emmac Life Sciences, a research company focused on medical marijuana, was a week earlier reported as also preparing for a London Stock Exchange listing. Canadian stock exchanges, the drug was fully legalised for recreational as well as medical use in October last year, now host around 70 companies in the medical cannabis sector. There are also a handful now listed on Wall Street exchanges, mainly through dual listings. The early choice of London by pace setters on the still nascent European market indicates that the LSE is well positioned to become the first choice for ‘pot stocks’ listing in the Old Continent.
European Cannabis Holdings describes itself as venture capital investor in ‘the infrastructure that will make cannabis more readily acceptable and accessible’. Its portfolio of companies spans ‘three pillars’ of the legal cannabis industry – platforms, brands and access. ECH helped facilitate the first shipment of legal medical cannabis into the UK last week.
Last year laws around medical cannabis in the UK were relaxed to mean it can be prescribed for a limited number of conditions if they have proven resistant to alternative treatments. However, a lack of supply and infrastructure has meant that the small number of UK patients that have been prescribed medical cannabis have had difficulties in actually receiving their prescriptions.
ECH is reported to be planning to use the finance raised from investors through an IPO to fund three new medical cannabis clinics to be located in London, Manchester and Birmingham. To date, the company has raised a total of £6 million in private investment. It didn’t respond to an invitation to comment on The Sunday Time’s report of the planned listing.
Medical cannabis does not contain THC, the substance that leads to the ‘high’ associated with recreational use of the drug. It is particularly high in CBD compounds, or cannabinoids. CBD’s medical properties are based on its anti-inflammatory qualities and antipsychotic effects. CBD oil or other orally consumed forms are said to alleviate pain and anxiety. Medical cannabis and drugs derived from medical cannabis are used to treat anxiety, bipolar disorder, diabetes, a muscle disorder called dystonia, seizures, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, graft-versus-host-disease, and schizophrenia. However, clinical research is still ongoing around many of the reported medical benefits.