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Canada Goes Green as Senators Approve Recreational Marijuana Bill

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Canada will become the first G7 nation to legalize recreational marijuana after a Senate vote Tuesday night cleared the final hurdle to a ceremonial approval later this year.

Canada Goes Green

The upper chamber voted 52 to 29 in favor of passing Bill C-45, a controversial proposal to end the generational ban on recreational pot. The Senate passed the bill mere days before a Parliamentary recess began, paving the way for implementation by the end of summer.

It is unclear when Bill C-45 will receive ceremonial approval by the governor-general – the final step before it becomes law – although ministers said an additional 12 weeks beyond that may be required before retail sales begin.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter Tuesday to announce the Senate’s decision:

“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept.”

Investors Look to Get High on Canadian Weed

The Senate’s decision makes the world’s eleventh-largest economy an attractive destination for yield-seeking investors looking to capitalize on an industry with high-growth potential.

Canadians spent $5.7 billion on marijuana last year, according to the government’s top statistics agency. The nation’s 5 million pot consumers doled out an average of about $1,200 on the green plant and its derivatives, with 90% of the proceeds going to the black market. By comparison, Canadians spent just over $22 billion on alcohol and $16 billion on tobacco products.

This year, Canadians are expected to consume about 474 metric tons of marijuana flower, according to GT Research, a cannabis analytics company. Consumption is expected to reach roughly 861 metric tons in four years.

Research from Deloitte suggests legal pot sales in Canada will exceed $7 billion. However, the economic footprint is expected to be much larger. When factoring direct and indirect activity, legal weed could generate up to $22.6 billion in economic value.

The end of prohibition, once confirmed later this year, will take the weight off marijuana producers that have wagered big on legalization. After a flurry of consolidation domestically, Canadian producers are now setting their sights on countries like Italy, Spain and Colombia for expansion.

The Canadian weed landscape has experienced “merger madness” over the past 12 months, with larger firms snatching up smaller players in a series of moves. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB) recently acquired MedReleaf Corp for $2.9 billion. In January, it agreed to buy CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. for $1 billion.

Canada is now home to over 90 publicly-listed marijuana producers collectively valued at more than $31 billion. The top-24 producers capture about 88% of that market. The biggest pot stocks are listed on the Canadian Marijuana Index, which is nearly four times bigger than the U.S. index despite America being ten times greater in size.

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 670 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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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 115 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 115 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 70 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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