Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC -18.57%) claims the biggest market cap of any marijuana stock on the planet. It's not even a close contest. Canopy's market cap of around $6 billion is more than $1.5 billion higher than the second-biggest marijuana stock.
Until now, Canopy Growth stock has been listed only on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). However, the Canadian marijuana grower began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Thursday. Canopy will also continue to be listed on the TSX under the ticker symbol "WEED." Now that this top marijuana stock has made it to Wall Street, is Canopy Growth a buy?
Does the NYSE listing matter?
Trading on the NYSE is a significant move for Canopy Growth. CEO Bruce Linton stated that Canopy's listing on the NYSE "will represent a continuation of our upward trajectory as we build the global cannabis industry." He's right. It's yet another step toward legitimization of the entire industry in which Canopy Growth has been a pioneer.
On a practical note, listing on the NYSE also could provide exposure for Canopy to a much larger investing audience. The NYSE is the largest stock exchange in the world. The total combined market cap of stocks listed on the exchange is nearly seven times that of the TSX where Canopy is listed now.
Could inclusion on the NYSE automatically provide a boost to Canopy stock? Perhaps. On Feb. 27, 2018, Cronos Group (CRON -2.08%) became the first Canadian marijuana grower to list on any U.S. stock exchange when it began trading on the Nasdaq. Cronos stock enjoyed a big double-digit percentage jump the same week, with no other news serving as a catalyst.
So far, though, Canopy Growth hasn't experienced a similar bounce. One potential reason why: The stock had already moved nearly 20% higher since Canopy announced its application for listing on the NYSE.
The timing of Canopy Growth's move to the NYSE is really good. Something big is about to happen for Canadian marijuana stocks. Thanks to its anticipated listing on the NYSE, Canopy could be especially poised to benefit from this development.
I'm referring, of course, to the possibility that Canada will soon legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The Canadian Senate is scheduled for a full vote on legalization on June 7. There's a very good chance that the bill will pass. In March, the Senate voted 44-29 in favor of advancing the recreational marijuana legislation to committee review, with Canopy and other leading marijuana stocks jumping on the news.
Just how big could the Canadian recreational market be? The country's Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), which performs a similar function as the Congressional Budget Office in the U.S., estimated that marijuana sales would be between CA$4.2 billion and CA$6.2 billion in the first year of the legalization of recreational cannabis. The midpoint of that range is roughly US$4 billion.
However, based on marijuana sales in Colorado, it's not unreasonable to think that the Canadian marijuana market, including both medical and recreational cannabis, could grow to more than US$10 billion within a few years. Canopy Growth could realistically be looking at annual revenue of several billion dollars in the not-too-distant future.
Is Canopy Growth a buy?
Like many, I see Canopy Growth as the cream of the crop with Canadian marijuana stocks. But that by itself doesn't mean the stock is a smart pick right now.
There are two perspectives on Canopy Growth that investors should consider. One is that the stock is overpriced even with its growth prospects factored in. The other perspective is that Canopy's growth potential is so enormous that the stock still has plenty of room to run.
I'm in the latter camp. My take is that the global medical marijuana market should become much larger than the total marijuana market in Canada. I also expect that U.S. federal laws will be changed within a few years to allow state laws on marijuana to reign supreme. The bottom line is that I think the total worldwide marijuana market will be great enough that Canopy Growth will flourish.
But I could be wrong. Another alternative is that my predictions are right, but it takes a lot longer than expected for the global marijuana market to expand. In either of these scenarios, Canopy Growth would likely be a losing investment.
One thing that I'm confident about, though, is that if the marijuana market does grow dramatically, Canopy Growth will be one of the top leaders in the industry -- just like you'd expect from the first marijuana stock to be listed on the NYSE.