U.S. or Canada? The Ongoing Cannabis Debate


Cannabis is the ultimate development market. There are no doubts about that.

As a sector, cannabis has the possible to claim $100’s of billions in international market place share from a number of distinct industries. But due to the fact of almost 100 years of absurd Prohibition, this is an market that is (artificially) brand new – as a legal line of organization.

We have in no way ahead of witnessed something like this in our economies. Even with alcohol Prohibition, alcohol is a item with 1, single industrial application: as a recreational drug. Cannabis (such as hemp) has hundreds of possible applications. And just 1 of these applications is as a far superior (and considerably safer) recreational drug than alcohol.

Canada and the United States are the 1st two nations out of the beginning blocks as cannabis normalization steadily – but steadily – sweeps the globe. This has sparked an ongoing debate inside the cannabis market and amongst cannabis investors.

Exactly where is the much better cannabis chance currently: the United States or Canada?

Sadly, most preceding attempts to answer this query have been incredibly 1-sided. Somebody inside the cannabis market (on 1 side of the Border) claims that their chance is considerably much better/higher.

Usually, it is somebody attached to the U.S. cannabis market, claiming that the American chance in this space is far much better. A different such post just appeared on Barron’s.

Once again, we have a incredibly 1-sided “analysis” by a U.S.-focused pundit, which concludes (surprise! surprise!) that “the U.S. is best”. The gist of the post is incredibly familiar to what has been stated ahead of – and rather simplistic.

U.S. marijuana stock valuations (as a complete) are even additional compressed than the exceptionally anemic present valuations for Canadian cannabis stocks. But the U.S. currently has additional revenues on the table.

More than the extended term, the income gap will develop due to the considerably higher size of the American cannabis market place. For that reason U.S. valuations should really be considerably greater, relative to Canadian stocks.

If it had been only that easy.


  • The United States has a absolutely fragmented regulatory landscape, with cannabis nonetheless completely illegal nationally. Canada has national legalization and a comparatively homogenous regulatory landscape.
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  • Mainly because of the hugely fragmented U.S. market, there is incredibly tiny transparency in the U.S. cannabis market. Each and every state is absolutely exclusive in its regulatory and market place parameters. It needs comprehensive due diligence just to turn into familiar with market fundamentals on any 1 state market place.
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  • Mainly because cannabis is illegal in the U.S. federally, there is nonetheless incredibly tiny access to banking solutions for most of the cannabis market. This not only causes day-to-day operational hurdles, it also stifles sector development.
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By themselves, these 3 things can completely account for the gap in valuations among U.S.- and Canadian-primarily based cannabis organizations.

The fragmented market place and fragmented regulatory structure in the U.S. implies that even U.S. multi-state operators can create only restricted synergies as they expand. There is no interstate cannabis commerce at the moment permitted in the U.S.

Conversely, in Canada (for instance) cannabis extraction specialists are capable to service the market with cannabis oils at a national level. This has permitted considerably higher scale in cannabis extraction for Canadian-primarily based organizations than is at the moment noticed with publicly listed U.S. organizations.

This fragmentation not only effects cannabis operators, it impacts cannabis investors. Investing in U.S.-primarily based organizations is a considerably additional laborious undertaking – unless the business operates in a single jurisdiction. To do appropriate due diligence implies understanding all of the person fundamentals and regulatory structures for every single market place in which that business operates.

As The Seed Investor has pointed out regularly, there is no similarity at all among cannabis operations in Colorado versus cannabis operations in California – regardless of the reality that each are dual-use state markets. This not only tends to make it challenging to study person organizations, it tends to make it exceptionally challenging to examine publicly listed organizations primarily based in the U.S.

Colorado has the very best regulatory structure for its cannabis market. Not surprisingly, it has the strongest and most mature cannabis market versus any other U.S. state (or Canadian province).

California is a train wreck. The state has performed absolutely nothing ideal. It has designed a regulatory nightmare for any cannabis organizations lured into the state by the enormous (possible) revenues on the table.

Colorado’s cannabis market is continuing to develop.

California’s (legal) market is so hamstrung by more than-taxation and more than-regulation that it is in danger of plateauing – currently. The state government is so clueless and cowardly that rather than attempting to repair its broken legal market, it is launched a new-and-futile War on Drugs on the state’s cannabis black market place.

Then there is banking/financing. 1 only wants to appear at the huge amounts of capital raised by Canadian-primarily based organizations to see the magnitude of the distinction right here. Similarly, the friendly regulatory framework has currently brought in massive-scale investments by multinational corporations from outdoors the cannabis market.

Major Alcohol and Major Tobacco have currently established a developing presence in the Canadian cannabis market. They are not even prepared to touch U.S. cannabis – offered its (illegal) federal status.

What all of the “U.S. is best” articles (conveniently) ignore is how the superior access to capital in Canada sets up Canadian-primarily based organizations to expand internationally.

This is currently a substantial element of the operating approach of most of Canada’s bigger publicly listed organizations. Even lots of smaller sized organizations are currently rolling out aggressive plans for international development, due to the fact they can fund such activities.

Conversely, with U.S.-primarily based organizations, “expansion” implies (exclusively) looking for to penetrate a new – but completely distinct – state market place. Even though the United States gives huge extended-term possible for cannabis revenues, it is nonetheless only a smaller portion of the international possible for cannabis.

Is the point of this post to inform cannabis investors that “Canada is best”? No.

As The Seed Investor has observed previously, astute cannabis investors need to have to position themselves in each of these cannabis markets. They need to have to invest in U.S.-primarily based and Canadian-primarily based organizations. Not either/or.

Cannabis investors need to have exposure to the huge U.S. cannabis market place. At some point, it will be legalized nationally (probably sooner rather than later). At some point, access to economic solutions will boost (probably sooner rather than later). At some point, the regulatory structure will turn into additional homogenous and transparent.

Cannabis investors need to have exposure to the Canadian cannabis market. This is the world’s top jurisdiction for legalizing-and-commercializing cannabis. This tends to make Canada the best base of operations from which to launch a international cannabis business.

U.S. cannabis valuations do not have to rise to “catch up” to Canadian organizations. Cannabis valuations in Canada do not have to move down to match U.S. organizations.

Rather, market valuations in each jurisdictions are ridiculously low and equally depressed. Cannabis investors should really be expecting sturdy performances from each their U.S. and Canadian marijuana stocks – for distinct but equally compelling factors.

If cannabis stock valuations in the U.S. are at the moment “look cheaper” to some cannabis investors (or cannabis analysts), possibly this is due to the fact they basically haven’t been seeking closely adequate.



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