DENVER, March 19, 2019 /CNW/ -- The growth of the hemp sector is having a beneficial effect for both hemp companies and hydroponic suppliers.
- The growth of hemp more than doubled in the United States last year
- More companies are moving to produce hemp, causing a surge in demand for cultivation and hydroponic supplies
- Shortages are particularly acute relative to the hemp micropropagation and hemp cloning supplies as the spring planting season looms
Sugarmade Inc. (OTC:SGMD) (SGMD Profile) via its pending acquisitions is poised to accelerate its growth rate as a result of this hemp cultivation boom, along with other leading companies. Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) has been expanding through the acquisition of other companies and a move into Europe, with a successful harvest in Portugal. Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE:CGC) (TSX:WEED) is using outside investment to expand from Canada to New York and to develop CBD-infused drinks. Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON) (TSX:CRON) has also seen substantial outside investment thanks to growing faith in hemp. Aphria Inc. (NYSE:APHA) (TSX:APHA) has even faced a hostile takeover attempt as some companies look for ways to force their way into greater influence over a growing sector.
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Hemp — The New Cash Crop
This year is set to be a record breaker for the hemp industry. The ongoing transformation of the plant's legal status in North America is opening up possibilities for farmers, processors and retail outlets. The whole playing field is changing as the nationally legalized Canadian industry develops and the United States contemplates an agricultural future with now-legal hemp cultivation. This momentum appears to be drawing in big investors as well as industry pioneers that are intent on setting up new businesses.
The Farm Bill, which was signed into law in the United States in December, includes clauses making the farming of hemp legal on a nationwide level. Hemp doesn't contain a significant quantity of the psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is present in other variations of the plant. Instead, hemp is valued for its nonpsychoactive chemical cannabidiol (CBD), which is used in a growing number of health, wellness and relaxation products. Hemp also is a source for fibers that can be used for anything from cloth to building materials. The bill therefore has made it far easier for farmers, many of whom are struggling to get by on current crop yields, to look for profits through the hemp sector.
Even before the Farm Bill's passage, the expansion of hemp cultivation in 2018 had been staggering, growing from 25,713 to 78,176 acres spread across 23 states. Those states issued 3,546 hemp licenses in 2018, more than double the 1,456 issued in 2017. Since the law passed, states with existing hemp infrastructure have been overwhelmed with applications for licenses, and it's clear that the growth should stay strong.
With Growth, Shortages Loom
Like any dramatic development in the economy, this emerging sector brings with it challenges and difficulties. One of these is providing the cultivation supplies that new and expanding hemp growers will need. Shortages of critical cultivation supplies, particularly relating to plant tissue micropropagation and cloning are being reported potentially threatening the plans of many farmers to get their hemp crops planted this spring. But one person's challenge is another person's opportunity, and in this case, the opportunity will go to companies that have prepared for the growing need for cultivation supplies.
This young hemp cultivation supplies industry is not dominated by established corporate giants, which leaves plenty of space for relative newcomers such as Sugarmade Inc. (OTC:SGMD), via its pending acquisitions.
Generating New Revenue Streams
Recently, Sugarmade announced its intention to acquire Sky Unlimited LLC, which is a major supplier to large commercial agricultural cultivation operations. The acquisition is anticipated to generate new revenue streams from not only large hemp growers but also from more traditional hydroponic oriented cultivators.
The acquisition of Sky Unlimited and its www.AthenaUnited.com marketing website has been almost perfectly timed to make the most of the boom hemp cultivation trend. The brands fit well with Sugarmade's existing business, allowing the company to smoothly expand its hydroponic sales operations and better meet growing customer needs.
Profiting from Supply and Demand
Acquisitions have also been the order of the day for many hemp cultivators, allowing them to expand their operations into newly legalized spaces.
Canadian company Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) has been on an expansion spree, setting up Tilray Latin America SpA to reach Latin American markets, acquiring Canadian rival Natura Natural Holdings Inc., and recently adding the world's largest hemp foods company, Manitoba Harvest, to its roster. While the Americas currently offer the largest markets for the plant, Tilray also has an eye on future markets. The company is rapidly expanding its operations in Europe.
The growth of the hemp sector has drawn interest from other industries — most notably in the form of a $4 billion investment in Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE:CGC) (TSX:WEED) by Constellation Brands. This sees the U.S. beverage manufacturer looking for fresh markets to profit from as the two companies collaborate on developing CBD-infused drinks. One of Canada's largest hemp cultivators, Canopy Growth has used this influx of cash to support its own expansion plans. It is spreading across the border to set up a hemp production facility in New York state. It is also bolstering hemp's status as a health drug through work with the National Hockey League on the potential use of CBD in treating concussions.
Another of the big Canadian players, Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON) (TSX:CRON) has also drawn interest and investment from south of the border. The company announced March 8 that it had closed a C$2.4 billion investment from Altria, the owner of such famous brands as Marlboro and Benson & Hedges. Like the Constellation Brands investment, this move shows the wider business world's faith in the enduring power of hemp as a consumer product and the viability of the companies producing it.
The heated competition in the hemp market is reflected in the recent attempt by Green Growth Brands to achieve a hostile takeover of cannabis company Aphria (NYSE:APHA) (TSX:APHA). A company with interests in North American, Latin America and Europe, Aphria's board has rejected the takeover and encouraged shareholders to do the same. This reflects the company's faith in its own value and the profit potential of the coming year.
Like other companies in the cannabis sector, Sugarmade has announced a host of acquisitions over the past year, which it is currently working to close. With these, the company holds the potential to generate up to $90 million in annualized revenues, which could make Sugarmade one of the largest suppliers in this booming industries.
For more information about Sugarmade, please visit Sugarmade Inc. (OTC:SGMD).
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