During the last year, we have noticed a paradigm shift in the cannabis industry and have watched as US cannabis companies have started to put up stronger numbers than leading Canadian cannabis producers.
In 2018, Canadian cannabis companies were dominating the global cannabis market and raising billion of dollars of equity capital. At this time, Canadian cannabis companies expected to increase cannabis production by more than 50x over the next year and pretty much own the global market.
A lot has changed in the last two years and most Canadian cannabis companies do not have the capital to execute on the domestic opportunity. So far this year, several leading Canadian companies like Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) (CGC) and Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) (ACB), have shut down several cultivation facilities in Canada and abroad.
The international cannabis market has been growing at a very slow rate and this has put pressure on Canadian businesses that are leveraged to this vertical. Markets like Germany and Colombia were expected to be huge revenue drivers for these businesses, but these companies faced major headwinds that are related to regulation and made it more challenging to capitalize on these opportunities.
The COVID pandemic has only made things more challenging for the cannabis industry and companies are being forced to adapt to the new market environment to survive. We expect the pandemic to slow down the growth of international markets and will monitor how leading Canadian cannabis companies are impacted by this.
When it comes to the US, cannabis was declared an essential industry during COVID and companies reported a strong increase in sales in March and April. Over the next year, we expect to see increased consolidation of the US cannabis industry and believe that these companies will be better positioned to capitalize on the global cannabis market.
The US is known for being a country that has built the largest brands in the world. No matter the industry, the US is considered to be the global leader and we expect to see a similar outcome in the cannabis industry.
Once cannabis is legalized at the federal level in the US, the gloves are coming off and companies will start to capitalize on international markets. We expect leading US cannabis brands to take over international markets and believe that the market does not fully appreciate this.
Currently, US cannabis companies are subject to tough regulations and plant touching businesses do not get to write off expenses. These companies are still required to pay taxes but do not get the benefits that all other industries get. This will all change when cannabis is legalized in the US and we are bullish on the long-term growth prospects that are associated with the sector.
We have already seen several leading Canadian cannabis companies form strategic partnerships with leading US brands and this is a trend that leaves us confident in our long-term thesis. Cleary, US brands have significant consumer appeal and we expect to see a similar response from other countries that want to sell US branded products.
We believe that the US cannabis industry is barely in the first inning of a multi-decade growth cycle and this is a market that we are excited about. Over the next year, we expect the cannabis industry to go more mainstream and expect US companies to benefit from this.
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