Is the Canadian marijuana industry about to repopulate? One of the sector's players, OrganiGram Holdings (NASDAQ:OGI) is beginning to bring its employees back to work. In an update published on Thursday, the company said it has started a phased return-to-work strategy now that the coronavirus outbreak seems to be abating in its native province of New Brunswick.
The initial phase of this involves recalling roughly 50 workers to the company's headquarters in the city of Moncton. The timing and size of the next phases will depend on general health and safety guidelines, the measures mandated by authorities, and OrganiGram's business needs.
The company's confidence is due in no small part to how effectively provincial authorities have contained the outbreak.
"We are pleased to see early signals that conditions are improving across the province as the provincial government has shown strong leadership with their pandemic response," the company wrote in its update. "Recognizing that there is still a long road ahead for Canadians and Canadian businesses, we are optimistic as we initiate this first phase of our return-to-work strategy."
Nevertheless, OrganiGram said it would implement many of the safety precautions that have become standard throughout the world since the pandemic hit. These include social distancing, the frequent cleaning and sanitizing of "high touch" surfaces, and a stronger emphasis on cleaning and sanitizing overall.
OrganiGram and many of its peer marijuana companies have struggled in recent months, despite the fact that cannabis dispensaries have generally been allowed to operate as "essential businesses" throughout the pandemic. Supply issues, regulatory difficulties, and even stock delisting worries have dogged the sector.
Yet this latest news seems to be providing some optimism for investors. They traded OrganiGram stock up by 7.7% on Thursday, which well exceeded the 1.1% gain of the S&P 500 index.