With less than two weeks of legalization of cannabis use for recreational purposes in Canada, on October 17, Desjardins Group opens the door to investment in this thriving sector.
The Lévis-based cooperative, which has provided funding to less than a dozen members to grow marijuana for therapeutic purposes, will accept playing lenders for the recreational industry on a case-by-case basis.
However, we will be “extreme caution” before saying yes, said Wednesday the vice president of governance of the movement, Pauline D’Amboise, during a telephone interview with Canadian Media.
It’s a defensive rather than an aggressive approach. We are not developing a new market at Desjardins.
Pauline D’Amboise, Vice President, Governance, Desjardins Group
After nine months of work, Ms. D’Amboise presented to the Desjardins Board of Directors the position of the cooperative on the issue of cannabis, which includes financing, insurance and its human resources policies.
Last year, President and CEO Guy Cormier was rather closed to the recreational marijuana industry.
But rather than close the door completely, Desjardins has decided to adapt to the regulatory context in order to accompany its members and follow trends, said D’Amboise.
“We already have members working in the therapeutic area,” she explained. For example, it is possible that some of our members in the agricultural sector are considering diversifying their activities. ”
With respect to recreational marijuana applications, the cooperative movement is looking at licensing issues, compliance, and governance before lending.
Over time, some Canadian financial institutions have changed their approach to the cannabis industry, becoming more likely to become lender or underwriter.
For example, in June, the Bank of Montreal granted Alberta producer Aurora Cannabis a credit facility of up to $ 250 million. However, other institutions, such as the National Bank, still prefer to keep their distance.
Through certain funds, Desjardins also holds “minor” interests in certain marijuana growers whose shares are listed on the stock exchange. The Capped Health Index on the Toronto Stock Exchange includes Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis and Aphria.