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If 2018 was a breakout year for pot stocks, then 2019 was a year to forget.

Not only were share prices hammered, but interest in cannabis stocks, as measured by volume, also subsided. Just take a look at Toronto Stock Exchange data.

In volume terms, a cannabis stock was the most-traded TSX-listed equity on the exchange in 82 out of 251 sessions in 2019, or 33 per cent of trading days. In 2018, when Canada legalized marijuana for recreational use, cannabis stocks were on top in 57 per cent of trading sessions.

The year started on a promising note. Cannabis stocks (and particularly Aurora Cannabis Inc.) were the most heavily traded TSX equity in most sessions through March.

Then came an extended lull, when pot stocks were at the top in only 13 of 126 sessions between April and September. This coincided with a broad slowdown for the industry as profits largely failed to materialize, with Canada’s main pot ETF shedding about half its value.

(A quick guide to the tickers: ACB = Aurora Cannabis; APHA = Aphria Inc.; CRON = Cronos Group Inc.; TGOD = The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd.; TRST = CannTrust Holdings Inc.; ZENA = Zenabis Global Inc.)

Not riding as high

The following chart shows when a cannabis

stock was the most traded TSX-listed equity

on the Toronto Stock Exchange, by volume

and session, in 2019.

Cannabis

Non-cannabis

Holiday

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

January

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

APHA

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

FEBRUARY

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

MARCH

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

CRON

ACB

ACB

ACB

APRIL

ACB

MAY

ACB

ACB

APHA

JUNE

TRST

ACB

JULY

TRST

TRST

APHA

ACB

AUGUST

TGOD

SEPTEMBER

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

TGOD

TGOD

ACB

OCTOBER

ACB

APHA

ACB

TGOD

ACB

ZENA

ZENA

NOVEMBER

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ZENA

ACB

ACB

DECEMBER

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

MATT LUNDY, THE GLOBE AND MAIL; SOURCE: TMX GROUP

Not riding as high

The following chart shows when a cannabis stock

was the most traded TSX-listed equity on the Toronto

Stock Exchange, by volume and session, in 2019.

Holiday

Cannabis

Non-cannabis

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

January

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

APHA

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

FEBRUARY

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

MARCH

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

CRON

ACB

ACB

ACB

APRIL

ACB

MAY

ACB

ACB

APHA

JUNE

TRST

ACB

JULY

TRST

TRST

APHA

ACB

AUGUST

TGOD

SEPTEMBER

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

TGOD

TGOD

ACB

OCTOBER

ACB

APHA

ACB

TGOD

ACB

ZENA

ZENA

NOVEMBER

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ZENA

ACB

ACB

DECEMBER

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

MATT LUNDY, THE GLOBE AND MAIL; SOURCE: TMX GROUP

Not riding as high

Each green square shows when a cannabis stock

was the most traded TSX-listed equity on the Toronto

Stock Exchange, by volume and session, in 2019.

Holiday

Cannabis

Non-cannabis

January

FEBRUARY

Tue

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Mon

Wed

Thu

Fri

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

APHA

MARCH

APRIL

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

CRON

ACB

ACB

MAY

JUNE

APHA

ACB

ACB

JULY

AUGUST

APHA

ACB

TRST

ACB

TRST

TRST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

TGOD

ACB

ACB

ACB

TGOD

TGOD

ACB

ACB

APHA

ACB

TGOD

ACB

ZENA

ACB

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

ACB

ACB

ZENA

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ACB

ZENA

MATT LUNDY, THE GLOBE AND MAIL; SOURCE: TMX GROUP

It’s not only the top of the TSX leaderboard where it was clear pot-stock interest was on the wane. For most major producers, trading volume ebbed in 2019 as investors digested the realities of an industry that is struggling to meet expectations.

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