Over the next decade, the legal cannabis industry might just be the biggest growth opportunity for investors. Depending on your preferred source, global legal weed sales could soar to between $50 billion and $200 billion by 2029/2030, up from almost $11 billion in 2018.
But in the interim, marijuana stocks have a lot of growing up to do. After all, we're talking about an industry that's still getting used to being regulated at the federal level in Canada, and at the state level in two-thirds of U.S. states.
Marijuana stock uplisting is picking up steam
One of the primary ways that cannabis stocks are maturing before our eyes is by uplisting (or in rarer cases going the initial public offering route) on major U.S. exchanges, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or Nasdaq (NASDAQ:NDAQ). Today, more than a dozen pot stocks have made the move, with all but three uplisting from the over-the-counter (OTC) exchange to either the NYSE or Nasdaq.
As you can imagine, there are quite a few benefits of being listed on a major U.S. exchange, as opposed to the OTC exchange. Being listed on the NYSE or Nasdaq places cannabis stocks side-by-side with time-tested businesses, thereby signaling that marijuana isn't a passing fad and is here to stay.
What's more, companies that trade on either of the two major U.S. exchanges are more likely to see higher daily trading volumes, which can reduce volatility, potentially making them more attractive to long-term investors.
Lastly, but most importantly, being listed on a major U.S. exchange is a way of boosting coverage (and possibly investments) from Wall Street. Investment banks aren't always willing to offer coverage on, or in invest in, companies listed on the OTC exchange. And let's face it, visibility is incredibly important to pot stocks in what's arguably a very crowded industry, at least in North America.
This top-tier grower has its sights set on the Nasdaq
With the push to uplist really picking up steam, perhaps it's no surprise that top-five cannabis grower, The Green Organic Dutchman (OTC:TGODF), became the latest to announce plans to uplist its stock to the Nasdaq on Wednesday, August 7.
Green Organic Dutchman CEO, Brian Athaide, had this to say:
"This is an important step in the growth of TGOD, one that will broaden our investor base and increase access for international investors as we build the leading global organic cannabis brand. Our team remains focused on executing our business plan and creating value for our shareholders."
Aside from Green Organic Dutchman's relatively low share price (which received a healthy boost on this announcement), it's a logical choice to move to a major exchange. According to the company, it's on pace for 219,000 kilos of peak annual output when fully operational, which may very well place it among Canada's top-five growers by annual production.
TGOD is also expected to be a significant player in the derivatives market (i.e., non-dried-flower products, such as edibles, vapes, infused beverages, and so on). It signed the largest third-party extraction-services deal in history with Neptune Wellness Solutions (NASDAQ:NEPT) in June. As part of the deal, Green Organic Dutchman will supply Neptune with an aggregate of 230,000 kilos of hemp and cannabis biomass over a three-year period, which Neptune will extract, formulate, and package for TGOD. These extracts will be used in derivative products that bear much higher margins than traditional dried cannabis.
If there's one knock here, it's that TGOD is really late to the party in generating domestic cannabis sales. This uplisting (assuming TGOD is approved) may buy it some time to prove to investors that its organic-grown cannabis is a long-term winner. But in the meantime, it's lagging its peers noticeably in production and revenue.
Expect this marijuana stock to be the next to uplist
The big question, following Green Organic Dutchman's announcement, is which pot stock could be next to uplist?
The most logical choice looks to be hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) market leader Charlotte's Web (OTC:CWBHF), which has hinted in the past that it was exploring a possible uplisting in the United States.
Charlotte's Web has been a popular company following the passage of the farm bill in December. This bill legalizing industrial hemp production and hemp-derived CBD, the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid that's best known for its perceived medical benefits. Although the U.S. CBD market is very diverse, Charlotte's Web currently holds the largest market share of it, and has access to more than 8,000 retail doors after signing a deal to carry its products in 1,350 Kroger-family stores across 22 states.
This also puts Charlotte's Web at the center of a trend that's growing at an even faster pace than the broader marijuana industry. According to aggressive forecasts from the Brightifield Group, compound annual CBD sales in the U.S. are slated to grow in excess of 100% through 2023.
With Charlotte's Web already profitable, and sporting a respectable share price (around $20), market cap ($885 million), and daily trading volume (nearly 550,000 shares a day), it's the most logical pot stock to announce an uplisting next.