With legalization on the horizon in Canada and seemingly politically inevitable in the United States (while there is still much work left to be done) we can expect to see more and more cannabis companies listed on various market exchanges. MedMen, a United States company with 18 licensed facilities in three states, just announced that it will be listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange as MMEN following a reverse takeover of a Canadian public company.
As Mona Zhang writes in Forbes, some Canadian cannabis companies are headed to the U.S. financial markets while U.S. companies are heading north:
Conflicting cannabis laws between the two countries have created an absurd state of affairs for both Canadian and American cannabis companies hoping to access capital markets: Canadian cannabis companies are listing on major U.S. stock exchanges, while American cannabis companies are heading to the Canadian Securities Exchange, finding themselves unwelcome in the U.S. (except for the OTC markets).
On Thursday, Ontario-based Canopy Growth became the first plant-touching marijuana company to list on the New York Stock Exchange. Cronos Group became the first Canadian cannabis company to list on a major U.S. stock exchange when it debuted on Nasdaq in February. Medical marijuana is legal in Canada, while the government is aiming to legalize adult-use this summer. Meanwhile, the state-legal cannabis industry has flourished into a multi-billion-dollar industry in the U.S. while federal prohibition remains.
“People are going to Canada to raise capital because capital fuels an industry,” said Daniel Yi, communications director for MedMen.
Reverse takeovers of Canadian companies seems to be a growing trend for U.S. marijuana businesses as the MedMen merger is similar to the Chalice Farms/Golden Leaf Holdings deal and Green Thumb Industries absorption of Canadian shell company Bayswater Uranium. We should expect more American companies to follow suit as big entities such as Acreage Holdings, the Ohio-based cannabis company that made news when former U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner joined its board, has made its intention of going public known. With Uncle Sam’s major stock exchanges still hostile to U.S. cannabis companies, we can expect more businesses to find greener capital markets in the Great White North.
The regulatory hurdles and stiff competition make both the U.S. and Canadian cannabis markets challenging, but the amount of money entering the cannabis space demonstrates the potential that many investors and entrepreneurs see in the burgeoning industry. To seize the opportunities and overcome the obstacles, businesses are seeing the value of going public to raise the capital they need to survive and thrive. The International Cannabis Business Conference is hosting a timely panel on the ins and outs of taking cannabis companies public this June 25th. If the future of the cannabis industry is going mainstream, including being publicly traded like any other company, the future is now.
If you are in the cannabis industry, or are thinking of joining, the International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, is the cannabis event for you. All vital aspects of the exciting Canadian cannabis industry will be covered as you learn the latest and network with top entrepreneurs, investors, and advocates from around the world. Get your tickets by June 6th to save $200. After Vancouver, the ICBC will be back in Portland, Oregon, on September 27th-28th. Get your Portland tickets by September 12th to save $200.