>> Canada was one of the first countries in the world to legalize medical marijuana 17 years ago. Since then the industry has gathered steam and companies like Canopy Growth our researching ways to advance use of medical marijuana. They're working on creating pills, inhalers, solutions, and creams to treat conditions from childhood epilepsy, to multiple sclerosis, to chronic pain.
Seeking to reduce reliance on traditional and more dangerous medications, including Opioids. Reuters Correspondent Nikola Samenather is in Toronto.>> What they are actually doing is they are taking on pharmaceutical companies by saying that they want to create drugs that are federally approved that in countries where marijuana is legal.
So, they're actually planning to create medications that will either replace or reduce the use of pharmaceutical drugs.>> Over 70 Canadian companies have licences from the country's federal drug regulator Health Canada to cultivate, produce and sell medical marijuana.>> Canada's liberal government also introduced legislation to legalize recreational use of weed by mid-2018.
Prompting a tripling in equity offerings by Canadian marijuana companies to a record of nearly $1 billion in 2017. And there are other reasons why Canadian companies have taken on the Mantel as leaders in the space.>> It's more who isn't present in the space rather than who is that's given Canada the edge.
For instance the obvious competitors would be US companies especially pharmaceuticals. But given that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level in the US, a lot of, the big pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to enter this base. The other competitor would have been Israel except that in Israel it's just now working on approving exports of marijuana.
So Canada sort of has the best of all these wars with the US out, Israel not really being able to capitalize on it's research advances.>> Experts predict that with growing legal adoption of medical marijuana around the world, companies like Canopy Growth are expected to ramp up productions for export as well.