As of last week October 17th, recreation marijuana has once again become legal in Canada after nearly a century of prohibition. The demand was so high that weed stores reported running low or completely out of cannabis on the first day. Nearly 10,000 cannabis sales were made in the province of British Columbia alone.
Funding for marijuana start-ups now is more abundant compared to a few years ago. Dooma Wendschuh is an entrepreneur who makes distilled marijuana extracts. At an investor summit in Denver, Wendschuh says he was “besieged by millions of dollars” worth of unsolicited offers to invest in his company. A quick look at his profit margins will explain why. He produces the extracts for only $2, and sells them for $35. “If you make it, it will sell. It’s unreal,” Wendschuh explains. The industry is slowly losing its stigma and is becoming a more legitimate market for a wider range of investors and financiers.
The pot industry will continue to grow as more governments around the world decriminalizes marijuana. Peradventure one way for investors to get exposure is to buy companies that grow and distribute marijuana products. Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE:CGC), formerly Tweed Marijuana Inc., is a medical marijuana company based in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada. Its president and Co-CEO Mark Zekulin was named to Canada’s Top 40 Under 40.
Earlier this month it was announced that the DEA, the federal drug enforcement agency in the U.S.A., had given permission to Canopy Growth Corp to make what it believed to be the first legal medical cannabis export to an as-of-yet unnamed research partner in the United States. Said Canopy Growth’s president, Mark Zekulin, “The United States presents a unique market opportunity and as the most established cannabis business in the world we, in turn, offer a unique ability to advantage standardization, IP development, and clinical research that can improve the understanding and legal application of cannabis and cannabinoids.”
CGC stock has seen a huge move upwards from $10 per share last year this time to $56 per share earlier this month. But in the recent weeks the stock has slid down by about 30%. It is currently trading at about $38 per share today. The reason for the decline is most likely due to investors of the stock wanting to take some profit. The stock price could fall even further before reaching a bottom. But in the long run Canopy Growth shares should bounce back to new highs.
There is currently a transition going on where the company shares are exchanging hands from retail shareholders to institutional shareholders. In the past nearly all investors of Canopy Growth were smaller retail investors. But now that marijuana is becoming more accepted, more wealthy establishments with deeper pockets are looking at this industry for the first time. Marijuana is also medically relevant on a global basis which should interest large pharmaceutical companies. The executives at Canopy Growth have gone from the west coast of the U.S. to Australia, to Europe speaking with institutional investors. The company now already has 25% institutional investors and will continue to grow that over time.
There are other opportunities for cross industry benefits in the future. According to CNBC, Constellation, the maker of Corona and Modelo beers and many brands of wine and liquor, is not planning to sell a drinkable cannabis product in the U.S. before legalization happens across the nation, but it may begin doing so in Canada next year.
It is difficult to predict when CGC will reach a bottom. The best thing for investors to do for now is to watch this stock and its competitors in the market and potentially pick up some shares at a good time. There is still a large amount of uncertainty surrounding marijuana stocks particularly around regulatory hurdles, production capacity issues, and other risks. But it’s a multi billion dollar industry and will only get bigger over time.
This author does not have any shares in CGC and does not plan to own any within 72 hours of this post.