By Steve Gelsi
Norway’s $1.2 trillion pension fund said it will not invest directly or indirectly in four Canadian cannabis stocks because cannabis remains illegal within its borders.
The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global said production and sale of cannabis for recreational use “should be excluded as a new criterion for the exclusion of companies” from the fund.
The fund listed Tilray Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209129655/composite TLRY +1.09% /zigman2/quotes/226578748/delayed CA:TLRY +0.40% , Cronos Group /zigman2/quotes/206842762/composite CRON +0.48% /zigman2/quotes/202715342/delayed CA:CRON +0.36% , Aurora Cannabis /zigman2/quotes/210559470/composite ACB -0.37% /zigman2/quotes/203734337/delayed CA:ACB -2.94% , and Canopy Growth Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200603886/composite CGC +3.57% /zigman2/quotes/202205609/delayed CA:WEED +3.19% as excluded, according to a statement issued Wednesday.
The companies did not immediately respond to an email from MarketWatch seeking comment on Norway’s move.
The fund said it does not hold shares directly in the companies, but they are in the benchmark index for the fund.
Norway said its ruling is based on the recommendations issued in March and May from its council on ethics.
“Cannabis is a narcotic substance that is illegal to produce and sell in Norway, and Norway has ratified the International Drug Control Conventions,” according to a report from the Norwegian Ministry of Finance. “This expresses a fundamental value about which there is broad agreement in the population and which indicates that the production and sale of cannabis for recreational use should be included as a new criterion for the exclusion of companies from the [fund].”
Along with the cannabis stocks, Norway is also excluding tobacco stocks Scandinavian Tobacco Group A/S /zigman2/quotes/230162035/composite STBGY +26.23% , Eastern CO SAE EG:EAST +0.37% , and Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna ID:HMSP -1.10% /zigman2/quotes/200215536/delayed PHJMF -16.67% , as well as two stocks with companies that it says contribute to environmental damage: Indian hydro power company NHPC Ltd /zigman2/quotes/200176507/delayed IN:533098 -1.68% and South Korean metals and mining company Young Poong Corp /zigman2/quotes/200107045/delayed KR:000670 -2.04% .