DENVER, Feb. 12, 2019 /CNW/ --The growth the legal cannabis market has created has turned cultivation facilities into invaluable assets.
- The cannabis market is predicted to generate $146 billion in revenues by 2025.
- Legal changes are accelerating this expansion in the United States and beyond.
- Cultivation facilities are fundamental to this growth, providing the raw materials for the cannabis industry.
Cannabis Strategic Ventures (OTC: NUGS) (NUGS Profile) recently announced plans to establish a multi-acre cultivation facility in California to meet market demands. Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) is increasing its cultivation space through the acquisition of Natura Naturals Holdings. In addition, the need to equip cultivation facilities is fueling growth for hydroponic suppliers such as GrowGeneration Corp. (OTC:GRWG). Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB) has issued a letter of intent to acquire Whistler in an effort to increase cultivation. Meanwhile, Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE:CGC) (TSX:WEED) is looking beyond North America, cultivating new markets in Europe.
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Cannabis Cultivation Provides Prime Opportunity
The continuing growth of the cannabis industry has created a powerful investment opportunity around cultivation sites. These farms are the bedrock of the industry, producing the raw materials that are essential to both medical and recreational customers around the world. Given the balance of supply and demand, companies with cultivation sites can practically guarantee themselves a market for their product.
One of the reasons behind the high value of these sites is the continuing development of cannabis-friendly regulations. State and federal laws becoming more cannabis friendly, and as that happens, the industry appears destined for substantial growth.
Potential of the Cannabis Cultivation Market
The growth of the cannabis sector has led to the rise of companies such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures (OTC:NUGS), a holding company for cannabis industry start-ups and growth-stage enterprises that is moving into cannabis cultivation in Northern California. Such companies are keen to talk up the potential of the cannabis market, and unlike some other sectors, cannabis shows every sign of living up to the hype.
The global market for legal marijuana was valued at $9.3 billion dollars in 2016. By the end of 2025, the market is forecast to reach $146.4 billion. That's staggering growth for an industry that didn't even exist legally a mere 20 years ago and that has only recently started to attract substantial investor attention.
The largest part of the market is currently medical cannabis and cannabis-derived wellness products. Medical use provided cannabis with its foot in the door of the legal economy, thanks to its applications in providing pain and nausea relief, but the potential has exploded from there. Legalization has allowed better research into the effects of cannabis' active ingredients, in particular tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The plant is used in a wide variety of health and wellness products tailored to increasingly specific customer bases, such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures' Fitamins brand, formulated to relieve muscle pain in athletes.
The breakthrough research is driving demand for cannabis in various forms. The plant itself can be preserved and smoked for medical and recreational effects. Plant derivatives are used in a wide range of pills and ointments. And CBD and THC oils can be vaped or used in even more products.
As it becomes easier for companies to legally process cannabis, these companies are exploring making cannabis edibles. The changes are even fostering a surge in the production of hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant that doesn't contain high-inducing quantities of THC. And in addition to being used in the manufacture of CBD products, hemp is also used to make textile products.
Legal Changes for Cannabis
The societal clamor for access to cannabis' derivative benefits is driving new waves of legislation, including the legalization of recreational cannabis in several U.S. states as well as countries such as Uruguay and Canada. Across the United States, 70 to 75 percent of the cannabis trade is reportedly still in the hands of criminals, while in states with legalization, only about 30 percent of the activity continues to be criminal, according to Grand View Research. The potential to reduce the income of criminals, increase tax revenue and tackle drug abuse through public health measures are all fueling a movement that could drive even more radical growth in the legal cannabis market over the next generation.
The wave of cannabis-friendly legislation has allowed companies such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures to get their businesses started and access a broad legal customer base. Other legislation has maintained a lower profile but is equally important for the industry. In December, the 2018 Farm Bill belatedly passed through Congress after months of negotiations. In the process, it lifted the ban on commercial hemp, making it far easier for cultivators to produce this form of cannabis.
Even in states where the cannabis industry is already legal, legislation is becoming friendlier towards the industry. The California legislature has proposed a temporary reduction in taxes for cannabis businesses to help them make inroads into the illegal industry. For California-based companies such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures, this is great news as it frees up capital for further expansion and provides the incentive to continue operating in a friendly state.
Under the circumstances, venturing into production was a natural move for Cannabis Strategic Ventures. With the industry growing and the legal landscape looking friendlier than ever, the company is preparing to break ground on a major new cannabis cultivation site.
The six-acre site in Northern California — dubbed the NUGS Farm — will establish the company as a direct producer and position it to make the most of the potential the market has to offer.
"Establishing the NUGS Farm and securing these licenses are significant milestones for Cannabis Strategic Ventures," said Simon Yu, CEO of Cannabis Strategic Ventures. "As the cannabis industry expands, and as we work to make cannabis legal on a federal level, Cannabis Strategic Ventures will be in position to touch on all areas of cannabis production."
Though the main purpose of the farm will be to cater to Californian cannabis users, the largest market for the plant in the United States, the move is also a significant step toward wider operations.
"They say that the way California goes, the direction of the country goes," added Yu. "We are optimistic that federal regulations will become more cannabis friendly in the near future and are excited for the positive impact it can have on our company."
With more than 20 licenses for the cultivation, manufacturing and distribution of cannabis within California, Cannabis Strategic Ventures appears to be perfectly positioned to leverage opportunities within the state. In addition, these strategic moves may ideally prepare the company for expansion prospects throughout the rest of the country.
The Rise of the Cannabis Companies
The changing cannabis landscape has led to the emergence of several major players in the industry.
Many of the most important companies are based in Canada, where federal-level legalization and a large market for cannabis have made it easier for businesses to develop. Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) is one of the industry leaders, a pioneer in the cultivation, production and distribution of cannabis and its derivatives. With affiliates and subsidiaries in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and most recently Latin America through Tilray Latin America SpA, the company is developing a global presence. It is also expanding within Canada and has recently announced a pending acquisition of Natura Natural Holdings Inc., a multimillion deal that will give Tilray an extra 662,000 square feet of growing space.
The rise of cannabis companies is proving a boon for the suppliers of cultivation equipment as well, especially those specializing in hydroponics. Among those to profit is GrowGeneration Corp. (OTCQX:GRWG), a seller of hydroponic systems and the associated nutrients. Like Tilray, GrowGeneration has developed enough financial power to use acquisition as a route to growth. It recently obtained all the assets of Denver-based Chlorophyll Inc., increasing its influence across the United States.
Another of the big Canadian companies, Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB), has also demonstrated the importance of increasing cultivation space. A large part of the rationale behind its recently announced letter of intent to acquire Whistler was the desire to get hold of that company's two production facilities. These facilities are expected to produce 5,000 kilograms of quality cannabis a year, providing Aurora an avenue to increase its market share.
Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE:CGC) (TSX:WEED) is looking beyond its immediate market. Though legalization is not as widespread in Europe as in North America, change is also expected there in the long term, and the company is positioning itself to make the most of this. It has established subsidiaries in the United Kingdom and Poland to make the most of the very different situations in those two countries. In Poland, the company has passed through a regulatory process that will allow it to import and sell its cannabis in the country for medical use. In the United Kingdom, where the door has only just opened a crack to the use of cannabis derivatives in the most extreme medical cases, the company has formed a joint venture with a local research group, placing Canopy Growth as one of the first cannabis companies operating in the United Kingdom.
The market for cannabis is expanding as attitudes and laws change. This momentum may drive a need for more product and thereby provide promising opportunities for companies with cultivation facilities.
For more information about Cannabis Strategic Ventures, please visit Cannabis Strategic Ventures (OTC:NUGS).
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