Marijuana companies in Canada have donated equipment such as surgical masks to healthcare professionals fighting the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease associated with it. Now their government is asking them for more help.
According to an article in BNN Bloomberg citing an email it obtained from the country's health authority Health Canada, which was subsequently confirmed by the organization, executives of licensed cannabis companies were asked if they had spare laboratory capacity. Health Canada aims to utilize this to test for COVID-19.
In the email sent to numerous recipients, Health Canada acting director general Joanne Garrah wrote that her organization is "currently working to understand the specific needs and related questions, and we will be it touch in the coming days to request more information. If you have lab capacity within your facility and are interested in assisting, please notify us by email."
A Health Canada spokesperson did not disclose whether any of the recipients agreed to the solicitation.
One that says it's considering it seriously is Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB). BNN Bloomberg quoted an Aurora spokesperson as saying that the company thinks the request is "an exciting opportunity and [is] quickly looking at whether our various lab spaces could meet needs."
She added that, "We just have to do due diligence in terms of seeing if our resources will meaningfully help fill gaps [Health Canada] is identifying, which is our hope."
According to the organization's latest statistics, as of Friday morning, there were 4,018 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, with 39 fatalities.
The performance of Aurora's shares was in sharp contrast to that of the broader market. The marijuana stock closed nearly 14% higher on the day.