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Reverse Mergers Bring American Cannabis Companies to Canada

Canadian flag with cannabis leaves

It’s no secret that the Canadian federal government has been a global leader in implementing progressive cannabis policies compared to the rest of the world. Canada legalized medical cannabis in 2001 while the United States still hasn’t caught up at the national level although a majority of states have a medical law on the books, and the Great White North is set to legalize adult-use cannabis commerce this summer.

The establishment of a stable federal marijuana policy has provided businesses access to financial markets, which has led some American cannabis companies to conduct reverse takeovers (or reverse mergers, if you prefer) with Canadian businesses, opening up access to markets and capital. The California-based retailer MedMen recently pulled off a reverse merger and Oregon-based Chalice Farms previously did the same thing with Canada-based Golden Leaf Holdings (even though such mergers may seem like the Canadian company is absorbing the American entity). Once cannabis companies are officially located in Canada, they have access to markets such as the Canadian Securities Exchange as’s Smell the Truth reported:

“Canada has a very well developed ecosystem for early stage corporate finance in the public markets,” said Canadian Securities Exchange CEO Richard Carleton to Smell the Truth. “We did grow up on extractive industries like mining exploration, and oil and gas exploration and production. We actually are one of the few public markets in the world where you have risk capital that’s brought to bear on the public side.”

U.S. marijuana companies are not allowed to list on the Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange due to federal restrictions, leaving a nascent yet booming market to be traded in Canada.

From our perspective we don’t see any institutional risks to the Canadian securities exchange if we work with these companies,” said Carleton, who is scheduled to speak at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver later this month. “Furthermore we believe that there’s now a very well established legal and regulatory framework for these companies to be in the Canadian public markets.”

You can’t spell “capitalism” without “capital” and it is easy to understand how cannabis businesses need funds to compete in a competitive market with burdensome regulations, whether in the United States or in Canada. We’ve seen consolidation and entities with deep pockets rise to prominence on both sides of the border and the need for capital to compete in such a tough market will likely lead more U.S. companies to take advantage of reverse takeovers which open up opportunities for Canadians to be engaged in the cannabis industry in their home country and the United States. While legalization is more complicated than it should be, opportunities abound.

Learn more about reverse takeovers and how companies are gaining access to Canadian financial markets at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver this June 24th-25th. Don’t miss your opportunity to learn the latest and network with top investors, entrepreneurs, and activists from around the globe. Get your tickets now before they sell out!    

Canadian Securities Exchange, Golden Leaf, MedMen, reverse mergers, reverse takeovers