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Booming Marijuana Industry on Track for Growth as Canada Passes Bill C-45

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Canada’s booming marijuana industry cleared a major hurdle on Thursday after the Liberal government narrowly passed Bill C-45, the final piece of legislation needed to legalize recreational pot by the summer. Although marijuana stocks were down for the day, the outlook remain bright for investments.

Path to Legalization on Track

Senators voted 44 to 29 to pass the landmark bill amid efforts by the Conservative opposition to kill it. All 28 Conservative senators voted against the bill, while most independents sided with the Liberal government to pass it.

With the vote, the government remains poised to legalize recreational pot by July 1. Under the new framework, the government plans to support a growing industry while controlling how marijuana is grown, distributed and sold.

And grow it will, according to various estimates. Last year, Deloitte forecast a market base for marijuana of between $4.9 billion and $8.7 billion. When factoring direct and indirect growth, the total footprint of recreational cannabis could reach $22.6 billion.

At the same time, the country’s medical marijuana market is growing much faster than previously expected. According to Brian Tang and Anthony de Ruijter of Fundamental Research Corp, the nation’s medical marijuana industry expanded 1,500% in less tahn three years.

Some of Canada’s biggest marijuana companies are Canopy Growth Corp (WEED), Aphira Inc. (APH), Medreleaf Corp (LEAF) and Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB).

That said, the path forward isn’t without risk. Provincial disputes regarding taxation and distribution could impact the law’s implementation later this year. At the same time, cannabis companies have very little pricing power due to illicit suppliers operating in the black market.

An increasingly crowded market is another challenge some analysts foresee for Canadian companies. There are about 70 publicly traded pot companies in Canada, which is an extremely high number given the current size of the market.

Although Canada is well ahead of the United States on the regulatory front, several U.S. states have voted in favor of legalization, with many more considering a referendum on the subject. However, the Trump administration’s U-turn on recreational usage could trigger a contentious debate between Washington and states that have legalized the substance.

In a one-page letter issued in January, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions repealed Obama-era guidance on marijuana reform, giving Washington more leeway in enforcing federal laws.

Marijuana Index Declines

Cannabis stocks were down across North America on Thursday, extending their slide to three days. The North American Marijuana Index and its 39 constituents fell 4% to $247.36, the lowest in over three weeks.

Canadian marijuana companies experienced bigger losses on Thursday. The Canadian index closed down 5.2% at $703.34, the lowest since Mar. 1.Nineteen of 24 constituents finished in negative territory.

Meanwhile, U.S. marijuana stocks were down 1.3%.

Although Canada’s economy is one-tenth the size of its U.S. neighbor, its pot sector has a much higher market cap. The Canadian Marijuana Index is capitalized at $24.37 billion, compared with $5.19 billion for its U.S. counterpart.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 647 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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  1. hkcharlie

    March 25, 2018 at 4:27 am

    Is it possible to find out which cryptocurrency “cannabis coins” are associated with which network of growers, sellers and suppliers? Are they even used? or if these are just “a thing”.

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Altcoins

A Few Lessons From Last Week

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There is an adage on Wall Street.  It is quite old. It was passed down to me from my grandfather last Wednesday.  It goes something like this. When the cops raid the brothel, they take everybody including the piano player.  

No matter when the notion originated, it applies directly, and painfully, to last week’s experience with stocks, bonds and crypto assets. Between early Wednesday and Thursdays New York closing, most major US indices dropped a fast five percent.  Friday showed a tepid rebound with the tech heavy NASDAQ posting a 2.3% one day recovery followed by the S&P 500 with a meager 1.2% upward move. Otherwise there wasn’t much good happening.

The story in crypto land wasn’t any better.  In truth it was worse. Taking just the two big guys during the same Wednesday/Thursday time period, things were dismal.  Bitcoin lost 6% in price before staging a weak 1.1% recovery on Friday. Ether dropped 15.6% on Wednesday, then managed a 3.2% Friday bounce.

Nobody escaped untouched unless you were a short seller in which case, congrats! Having lots of company is hardly any consolation for having to deal with investment losses, even if there are only accounting losses.  Nevertheless, everyone who had the ability to read understood the stock market was on a record breaking binge and thus vulnerable.

The only binge connected to crypto prices was a 10 month long hangover from the record levels of late last year.  So should the Wall Street adage be applied here making crypto take on the role of piano player? Or to present the question in a different way, is the piano player merely an innocent victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

The Stock Market Correction Is Not Over

Stock market corrections are never pleasant but many veteran strategist consider them to be a necessary and even healthy part of the investment process.  Last week’s 5% drop was not even pronounced enough to qualify as a bona fide correction. That requires something even more than the 8%+ drop that took place back in February.  

In the very short term, there is little in economic news that is likely to upset the market this coming week but that doesn’t change the fact that interest rates are putting pressure in bond prices and $80 oil prices aren’t helping the inflation picture either.  Finally, there is the uncertainty created by the midterm elections. Making short run market predictions is a fools game, but this one is an exception.

What Does This Say About Crypto Values?

After events of the last week where already depressed crypto values get beaten down even further than stocks and bonds, that is not a good sign.  One of the reasons for this had to be last weeks report from Diar Ltd. showing how Coinbase’s active customers have dropped 80% from record levels of $24 billion in the fourth quarter of last year to $3 billion in the third quarter of 2018.  News of this study was reported by Bloomberg on Wednesday. So this could well have been the fundamental culprit. If so, the timing could not have been better for the short sellers.

No Longer Trending?

The folks at Diar Ltd. are spot on in their analysis but does this mean the end for crypto? Don’t count on it.  In fact there is a positive side to their findings. The most important point is the crypto prices (except for Wednesday) have become increasingly stable.  This stability will serve long term investors well as it will calm the nerves of regulators and merchants inclined to use crypto as a medium of exchange.

The drop off in activity at Coinbase is not surprising.  Speculators have lost interest. Recently we wrote an article about the competition for investor attention between crypto and cannabis.  There is loads of anecdotal evidence suggesting that this is contributing to crypto interest declining.

Here is just two points to remember.  This week on October 17, cannabis becomes legal for the first time throughout Canada. Investors are acutely aware of this bonanza.  During one of the worst weeks in the stock market, US listed cannabis stocks like Medmen Enterprises (MMNFF: $5.84) gained 35% while APHRIA (APHQF: $14.65) added over 13%.  Both stocks experienced greatly accelerated volume. This is an example of just two of many cannabis opportunities that are challenging crypto for investment capital. So the piano player may not be so innocent: he could just be smoking a little ganja.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 114 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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Altcoins

Crypto Versus Cannabis: What You Need To Consider

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Here is a question worth taking a moment to consider.  Which would you rather own: one Bitcoin or 130 shares of Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC, $50)?  They are both about equal in value based on current prices. But what about next week, next month or as far out as maybe 2020?  

The point of the question is this: when it comes to speculative investing, how much room is there at any one time for two stars? In this case, we are talking crypto and cannabis. We all know how difficult this year has been for crypto. On the other hand the cannabis industry is hotter than ever, with new deals announced almost every day, and merger and acquisition activity at an all-time high.

Just in case you are wondering, the market cap of CGC alone is around $11.4 billion, which would rank fourth in asset value behind Bitcoin, Ether and Ripple.  Collectively, the 10 largest publicly traded cannabis stocks are valued at over $35 billion.

Viridian Capital Advisors estimates that cannabis investments have already surpassed $5 billion this year. There have been over $582 million in Initial Public Offerings and over $8 billion in mergers.  The point here is that cannabis is a headwind that offers a compelling alternative to crypto. Do we need to choose or will there be room for both?

Important Differences

On the surface, there are two fundamental differences between crypto and cannabis: government and mass acceptance.  In the crypto world overwhelming attention is on solving the technical impediments like scaling and security. These are key issues that must be resolved before any coin or token can be expected to serve as a widespread medium of exchange.

Cannabis, of course, suffers none of these limitations.  According to New Frontier Data, sales are expected to surpass $9.5 billion in 2018 — with MJBizDaily forecasting sales of up to $12 billion. If ever there was an understated estimate, this is one of them.

Government Strangulation Versus Acceptance

The United States is one of the biggest markets for crypto and yet regulators have done just about everything possible to drive crypto entrepreneurs to places like Malta, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and elsewhere.  Though the idea of regulators cleaning up numerous scams, security risks and other things is a virtue, the crypto industry’s passion to preserve anonymity has created tension between the two groups.

October 17th, Cannabis Legalization Day

The tipping point for cannabis investors is coming up very soon. October 17, 2018 is the day the government of Canada legalizes cannabis everywhere in the country.  Beyond the obvious, the move opens Canadian banks to do business in cannabis including the processing of credit and debit cards. This is a big deal with implications for U.S. and for crypto as well.

Industry sources suggest that if the U.S. Congress changes control in this November election that either Federal law could be changed or those states with liberal leadership may follow by creating their own cannabis regulations.   

Crypto Needs A Customer

Legal cannabis has pent up demand but what about crypto? As much as we love blockchain technology, it has been a while since the list of merchants accepting Bitcoin has grown significantly.  

Why has so much attention been heaped on Ripple of late? In addition to the news on xRapid, Ripple is disrupting the antiquated and costly SWIFT system of fiat currency exchange where there are billions of wasted time and cost. Little wonder that XRP is challenging ETH for the second spot of crypto rankings.

What To Do Next

With investment returns in conventional stocks limited by record high prices and bonds facing a succession of Federal Reserve induced interest rate increases, the relative value offered by both crypto and cannabis is compelling.  But thanks to favorable developments in the cannabis world, there is now a real horse race underway between the two camps. For what it is worth, it makes sense to own both for long term investors.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 114 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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Marijuana

Cannabis Maker Tilray Soars 50% amid U.S. Regulatory Green Light

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Medical cannabis maker Tilray (TLRY), which trades on the Nasdaq, has seen its stock expand by more than 50% today as the market cap races past $20 billion. As CNBC noted, Tilray dwarfs more than 100 companies in the S&P 500. Today’s gains are impressive, even for a stock that has gained about 900% since going public in July. Something to keep in mind is that on the fundamental side, Tilray only boasts $28 million in sales, suggesting that the stock has likely gotten ahead of itself. There’s reportedly been speculation about potential M&A involving Tilray and some rock-solid developments as well.

Meanwhile, the major indices are posting lackluster performances, which places the spotlight all the more on TLRY. Tilray has been buoyed by a couple of catalysts, not the least of which involves the regulatory green light to import cannabis into the lower 48 states for research. Additionally, Tilray chief Brendan Kennedy was featured on CNBC with Jim Cramer, which gave the company good exposure.

 

Source: Yahoo Finance

Kennedy in the “Mad Money” interview with Cramer pointed to a global medical marijuana market with the potential to be worth $150 billion despite all of the regulatory hurdles, one of which the company just cleared. It’s a market in which pharmaceutical giants need to play to remain competitive. Kennedy told Cramer:

“Cannabis is a substitute for prescription painkillers, prescription opioids, and so if you’re an investor in a pharmaceutical company or you’re a pharmaceutical company, you have to hedge the offset from cannabis substitution.”

Similarly, alcohol companies and investors need to jump in because “it’s a great hedge for them.”

Regulatory Bump

In a paradigm shift, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has handed regulatory approval to Tilray to import medical cannabis to the United States for research purposes. Tilray has partnered with the UC San Diego to start. It’s a major boon for the Canadian marijuana play that already has a presence in the U.S., as now its North American positioning will only be strengthened.

Not to mention the fact that Coca-Cola announced it’s exploring an expansion into the cannabis industry, too. The beverage giant is in discussion with Aurora Cannabis for a possible marijuana drink. It’s created a frenzy in the cannabis market akin to the early excitement surrounding the blockchain.

Similar to crypto, there’s a great deal of speculation that’s driving Tilray shares right now, and as Cramer pointed out “a lot of retail money,” which may not end well for everyone. Until then, all eyes are on Oct. 17, which is when cannabis is legalized for recreational use in Canada.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 69 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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