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Why Tilray, Cronos, and Curaleaf Stocks Dropped Today

By Rich Smith – Nov 18, 2021 at 1:30PM

Key Points

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been leading the charge for marijuana legalization in Washington.
  • Today, he beat a retreat -- for investors at least -- saying he doesn't want "big boys" to "make all the money" when marijuana becomes legal.
  • Meanwhile, two multi-billion-dollar marijuana stocks got hit with sell recommendations from Barclays.

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Senator Schumer's "big boys" comment causes big losses for cannabis stocks.

What happened

The stock market harshed marijuana investors' buzz Thursday afternoon, as shares of Curaleaf Holdings (CURLF 3.12%) tumbled 4.5% in 12:25 p.m. ET trading, and Cronos Group (CRON -0.40%) and Tilray (TLRY 2.78%) fell even harder -- down 10.1% and 12.1%, respectively.

And it's no accident that these latter two stocks got hit harder than the former.

3 arrows trending down over a background of a map and dollar signs.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Marijuana investors are digesting both macro and micro stories today, and the macro one is that in Washington, D.C., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer just threw cold water on the idea that marijuana legalization will be good news for all participants in the industry.

Although Schumer has been hailed in some quarters as a hero for championing the 163-page Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act that would finally legalize marijuana on the national level, he's being quoted today on saying that he wants to hobble the titans of the marijuana industry in favor of smaller operators, and ensure "the big boys [don't] come in and make all the money."

Now, Schumer didn't specify precisely to whom he's referring with his "big boys" comment. Maybe he's simply saying he wants to make sure marijuana legalization doesn't simply give another product for Altria to sell. But if you're an investor in Cronos Group (market capitalization: $1.9 billion), or especially in Tilray ($5.1 billion) or Curaleaf ($6.7 billion), this still sounds kind of ominous.

Now what

And the news gets even worse for investors in Cronos and Tilray. British banker Barclays chose today to initiate coverage of both Cronos and Tilray -- with underweight (i.e., sell) ratings.

Barclays didn't refer directly to Schumer's comment, but as reports today, what it did say was just as bad. Barclays warned that in its opinion, marijuana legalization will in fact not happen in America before President Joe Biden leaves office. What's more, no matter when marijuana becomes legal in the U.S., says Barclays, Cronos' performance as a marijuana business in Canada "has been poor," giving little confidence that Cronos will do any better selling marijuana in the U.S.

Conversely, Barclays seems generally pleased with Tilray's performance, but criticizes Tilray for having an "expensive stock." In the analyst's opinion, Tilray is being priced too high for its potential growth. With the stock up 83% over the past year, investors may be better off booking profits now than waiting for Tilray to grow into its valuation later.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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