Perth medicinal marijuana company Phytotech starts trading on a high in Australia



Perth-based medicinal marijuana company Phytotech Medical is on the rise.
Ross Smith plans to list pot company
Legal delay for Phytotech float
Medicinal marijuana company Phytotech Medical has made a stellar stock market debut, with its shares doubling in value.

Shares in the Perth-based company surged from their 20 cent issue price to a peak of 40 cents within minutes of hitting the boards at 1400 AEDT.

The Perth-based company’s stock market listing comes as it looks to break into the multi-billion dollar US market, where medicinal marijuana is legal in several states.

Phytotech is also targeting Canada, Israel and Europe and hopes medicinal cannabis treatment will become available in Australia as political pressure mounts to conduct trials of the illegal drug.

“The dominoes are falling globally,” Phytotech founder and chief executive Ross Smith said from his company’s offices in Israel.

“Australia could potentially be a world centre for growing cannabis in much the same way we’re a world leader for growing medical opium.”

Advocates of medicinal cannabis say the drug should be available legally in pill form to treat terminally ill patients, children with epilepsy, and cancer patients suffering from chemotherapy-related nausea.

Phytotech plans to work with farmers in the US and Uruguay to grow indoor and outdoor marijuana crops for medicinal purposes.

It estimates the global cannabis industry is worth up to $US100 billion.

In Australia, the NSW government is spending $9 million on three trials for medicinal cannabis, but Mr Smith believes Victoria is most likely to legalise the drug once federal laws governing distribution and production are passed.

Mr Smith acknowledged the majority of Australia is governed by conservative governments, but said lawmakers could not ignore the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in 23 US states and seven European countries.

“This is happening,” Mr Smith said.

“What a pity that once it becomes legal in Victoria and NSW that people in other states will have to move interstate to treat their child with seizures.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott supports state-based trials of the drug, but has dodged suggestions of a national experiment.

A private members bill seeking the formation of a regulator to oversee the production and distribution of medical cannabis is expected to be debated in the Senate as early as next month.

Demand for Phytotech shares was strong after it released documents regarding its stock market float last December.

It originally planned to raise $5 million through the issue of shares to investors, but strong demand forced it to issue another $900,000 worth of stock.

Options Xpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said Phytotech had made a spectacular share market debut, with more than $2 million worth of shares changing hands in the first half hour of trade.

“It’s got high prospects for growth overall,” Mr Le Brun said.

“The research suggests that the relief the drug gives people suffering all manner of conditions can’t really be doubted.”



Henry Sapiecha

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