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Canadian based Tilray Inc. became the first marijuana company to complete an initial public offering (IPO) on a major U.S. Stock Exchange. Shares debuted at $17/share and reached as high as $34/share within the first week of trading.
Tilray isn't the first marijuana company traded on the US Stock Exchange, but the first to do so with an IPO. This is relevant for two reasons: first, it was able to tap into the lucrative U.S. IPO market, raising $153 million, and second, it signifies the maturation and legitimacy of the marijuana business, evidenced by its world-class book-runner, Cowen. As Tilray's Chief Executive Brendan Kennedy states, the IPO signifies tremendous validation for the industry. "It gives us access to large pools of capital, capital that feeds the global paradigm shift taking place".
Take Off, Eh?
Marijuana is big business in Canada, taking off in popularity with each passing law. Medicinal marijuana is already legal throughout the country, and on October 17, 2018, it will be the inaugural First World Country to legalize the production and sale of marijuana for recreational use. The Canadian marijuana industry will continue to grow with such legalization, as revenue from sales and investments gets poured back into the sector, with value estimates of the Canadian recreational market ranging from $5-$8 billion.
U.S. Federal Laws Dampen Marijuana Industry Growth
Canadian marijuana companies don't face the same obstacles U.S. companies do. Even though two-thirds of the states have legalized medicinal marijuana, and nine states plus Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational use, it is still an illegal drug under federal law. Therefore, marijuana companies face many unique challenges such as :
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first marijuana-based pharmaceutical drug, which may signify that the federal government is getting ready to legalize the medicinal marijuana industry.