The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Tweed Marijuana Inc. ships out its first medical marijuana to customers

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OTTAWA - Tweed Marijuana, Canada's first publicly traded medical marijuana company, says it has shipped its first orders of the drug to clients.

Tweed (TSX:TWD) started trading on the Toronto Venture Exchange last month and has a market capitalization of more than $113,000 million.

The company said Monday that the marijuana was produced at its Smiths Falls facility, near Ottawa, and complies with federal regulations.

New federal rules that started April 1 requires marijuana users to get their medical pot supply from commercial growers. But a federal court injuction in March allows some users to continue growing their own pot until a wider constitutional challenge of the regulations is heard _ a ruling Health Canada says it plans to appeal.

Under the new system, patients send a form signed by their doctor to the commercial producers of their choice. The marijuana will then be shipped directly to them using a secure courier, such as Canada Post or a private company.

"The team at Tweed is committed to making more and more strains available as quickly as possible," Tweed CEO and co-founder Chuck Rifici said in a news release.

More than 37,000 Canadians are authorized to posses marijuana for medicinal purposes, such as minimizing the effects from a variety of ailments ranging from cancer to spinal cord injury to attention-deficit disorder.

Health Canada has said the number of patients consuming medical marijuana in the country could increase to between 300,000 and 400,000 within a decade.

As of early February, Health Canada had received more than 450 applications from prospective producers, with about 25 new applications arriving every week.

Producers also include Ontario's Peace Naturals Project and MediJean Distribution Inc. in Vancouver.

Tweed's shares were up 10 cents, or 2.9 per cent, to $3.21 on the Venture Exchange in late morning trading.

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