Cannabis stocks were on the rise Friday as the tobacco giant Altria Group Inc's move (NYSE:MO) to buy a 45% stake for about $1.8 billion in the cannabinoid company Cronos Group Inc (NASDAQ:CRON) kicked off a rally.
The North American Marijuana Index, which tracks the top cannabis stocks in the US and Canada, popped by about 5.5% to hit $238.98 in Friday's mid-day trading session.
And just about all of the listed cannabis stocks rose in response to the news, which had been rumoured for days.
Cronos led the charge, climbing by 23% to hit $12.87, after investors got behind the Altria investment which comes as Cronos requires capital and is looking for expertise in navigating regulatory hurdles.
The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TSX:TGOD) (OTCMKTS:TGODF) was also one of the best-performing cannabis stocks with shares surging more than 12% to C$3.15.
Another stock marching higher was Aurora Cannabis Inc ( NYSE: ACB) which shot up 8.5% to $5.72 after announcing its expansion into Mexico with the signing of a supply pact for its medical cannabis with Farmacias Magistrales SA.
The Toronto cannabis investment company recently forged a consulting tie-up with Khalifa Kush Enterprises to introduce a line of premium cannabis products.
Elsewhere, shares of the embattled marijuana producer Aphria (NYSE:APHA) (TSX:APHA) also rebounded following a battering this week after a short-seller Quintessential Capital Management called the company a “shell game with a cannabis business on the side”.
Aphria shares jumped 7% to C$8.07 in Friday’s late morning session.
Last but not least, Canopy Growth shares (NYSE:CGC) picked up 3.7% to hit $31.46, a day after entering the cannabis vaporizer market with the C$220 million acquisition of Storz & Bickel.
There was just one dud on the Marijuana Index on Friday and its performance wasn’t half-bad.
The company leases specialized industrial properties to state-licensed operators for their regulated medical cannabis facilities.
Contact Ellen Kelleher at [email protected]