After decades of global prohibition, cannabis companies are making history as they move forward in our current international patchwork system of various cannabis laws and regulations. With October 17th coming up quickly in Canada, we’ll see more and more history made as a G7 nation will legalize non-medical cannabis commerce for the first time, likely influencing other nations. Canadian cannabis company Tillray made history as the first marijuana IPO (initial public offering) on the U.S. financial markets. Trading under the symbol “TLRY” the stock increased over 23% yesterday.
TechCrunch covered Tilray’s first day on the Nasdaq:
The momentum behind Tilray is a huge win for the cannabis industry, which has been growing like a weed (sorry again). Related startups attracted $593 million in funding last year, twice what they raised in 2016 and a meaningful jump from the $121 million invested in related startups in 2014, according to CB Insights. Among the different types of companies to garner investor dollars, shows CB Insights’ research, are: startups focused on research or distribution of medical marijuana products (as with Tilray); tools for ensuring compliance with state and federal marijuana laws; startups focused on payments for marijuana companies; startups collecting data and producing marketing insights about the industry; and companies creating novel strains and types of marijuana using new farming techniques.
Tilray’s performance today is also a very positive signal for Seattle-based Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm that owned 100 percentof the startup as it headed into its offering. In fact, Privateer’s CEO, Brendan Kennedy, is also the CEO of Tilray. (Cannabis companies are weird.)
Privateer has itself raised more than $200 million since its founding in 2010, including from Founders Fund and Subversive Capital, and it has used that money to finance, acquire and incubate companies. While it incubated Tilray, for example, it also owns Leafly, a large cannabis information resource that it acquired in 2011. Another of its portfolio companies is Marley Natural, a Bob Marley-branded cannabis line that it launched in partnership with the Marley’s estate and that sells a line of cannabis strains, smoking accessories and even body care products.
Needless to say, some Reefer Madness prohibitionists weren’t pleased with Tilray getting listed on the U.S. stock market as the so-called Smart Approaches to Marijuana leader Kevin Sabet made his feelings known via a press release:
“It is unconscionable – and illegal – to promote the production and commercialization of pot candies, cookies, and other edibles in the US market. We are calling on NASDAQ to immediately stop working with Tilray and other marijuana companies.”
With two other Canadian cannabis companies (the Cronos Group and Canopy Growth) already listed on the U.S. financial markets, Drug War dinosaur Kevin Sabet and crew are a little late. Since Tilray raised more than $150 million on its first day listed, we can expect more financial opportunities will arise to invest
Learn the latest important developments for the cannabis industry while networking with top investors, entrepreneurs, and advocates at the International Cannabis Business Conference this September 27th-28th in Portland, Oregon. Purchase your tickets by September 12th to save $200!