Aphria earns $12.9M Q3 profit

Cape Breton Post - - BUSINESS -

Shares of li­censed med­i­cal mar­i­juana pro­ducer Aphria Inc. rose nearly nine per cent on Mon­day on bet­ter than ex­pected quar­terly re­sults and af­ter news of a chang­ing po­lit­i­cal tone on cannabis south of the bor­der.

Aphria re­ported a $12.9-mil­lion profit in its lat­est quar­ter, boosted by the sale of some of its shares in U.S. com­pany Lib­erty Health Sci­ences.

The Leam­ing­ton, Ont.-based pro­ducer’s stock rose as much as 8.95 per cent to $12.42 on the Toronto Stock Ex­change in late morn­ing trad­ing on Mon­day.

Aphria’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Vic Neufeld said Mon­day the com­pany is “very ex­cited” about po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments south of the bor­der, where cannabis is il­le­gal un­der U.S. fed­eral law, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s com­mit­ment last week to sup­port con­gres­sional ef­forts to pro­tect states that have le­gal­ized cannabis.

Neufeld said Lib­erty Health Sci­ences, which has in­ter­ests in states where pot is le­gal and in which Aphria has a 28 per cent stake, has been “given a stamp of val­i­da­tion by key po­lit­i­cal lead­ers.”

“We are very ex­cited that this has hap­pened,” he told an­a­lysts dis­cussing its lat­est quar­terly re­sults. “We were very con­fi­dent it would .... Lib­erty was just ahead of the curve.”

Aphria moved to re­duce its stake in Lib­erty ear­lier this year af­ter Canada’s big­gest ex­change op­er­a­tor warned in Oc­to­ber that U.S. fed­eral law takes prece­dence over state laws, and cannabis firms with cross-bor­der ac­tiv­i­ties may face delist­ing. In Jan­uary, U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions re­scinded an Obama-era memo that sug­gested that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment would not in­ter­vene in states where cannabis is le­gal, and said he was leav­ing it to fed­eral prose­cu­tors in those states to de­cide how ag­gres­sively to en­force fed­eral law.

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