A new report released by independent Washington D.C data analytics firm New Frontier Data has favourably declared Canada’s cannabis industry as the best in the world. Through expansion of production capabilities, from new growing facilities to extraction technologies, Canada’s finest in the marijuana sector are leading the way and setting the global standard for the blossoming cannabis business.
To maintain this dominance, Canada’s cannabis leaders and innovators are building new greenhouses, and rolling out all types of new product lines along the way. With restrictions continuing to be placed on competitors south of the border, Canadian companies including Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED) (OTC: TWMJF), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX: ACB) (OTC: ACBFF), and Abbatis Bioceuticals Corp. (CSE: ATT) (OTC: ATTBF) are reaping the rewards of their favourable jurisdictions.
The domination of the global trade in legal marijuana by Canadian companies continues in the lead-up to recreational legalization in Canada expected later this year. Growers are systematically working on increasing production domestically, while also preparing to ship their wares out internationally.
From Canopy Growth’s newest production facilities breaking ground on the east coast, to Abattis Bioceuticals commencing construction soon on the west coast, Canada is truly a hotbed of cannabis activities. And the flow of investment dollars doesn’t seem to be stemming any time soon.
The report from New Frontier documents the size of investment that’s coming into Canada’s cannabis sector. In just the first 5 weeks of 2018, the report states that at least $1.23 billion was invested into the Canadian marijuana industry. Compared to just two years ago, during the entire year of 2016, investments in the sector totalled $1.29 billion, according to the report.
CANADIAN CANNABIS STILL ON THE RISE
As the growth potential of cannabis giants like Canopy, Aurora, and Aphria continues to expand, so too does demand for the soon-to-be-rec-legal product. According to the New Frontier report, the total demand for cannabis is estimated at $8.6 billion this year, of which the vast majority is still unfortunately purchased on the black market. The report estimates that by 2025, that demand will rise to $9.21 billion, which by then will see the majority of purchases shift to the legal recreational market.
By comparison, Canadians already spend $9.2 billion annually on beer, $7 billion on wine, and $5.1 billion on spirits—according to data released by StatsCan from 2015-16.
Since Health Canada began issuing licences to private companies in 2014 to grow medical marijuana, the industry has caught fire and is booming like mad. Today, there are currently 59 cannabis companies listed on the Canadian stock exchange, whereas the only other country that has publicly listed cannabis companies is Australia—save for the one cannabis company currently listed on the NASDAQ, Cronos Group.
For the foreseeable future, the bulk of cannabis investment is going to stick to Canada, and the companies listed there. While large American firms are indeed taking interest, such as Constellation Brands’ investment in Canopy Growth last year, a lift on the federal prohibition of cannabis in the United States still seems far away. Therefore, Canada’s cannabis sector will likely continue to be the hub of activity in the market.
CANADIAN CANNABIS MOVERS AND SHAKERS
Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED) (OTC: TWMJF)
The reigning kingpin in the cannabis space, Canopy Growth’s growing capacity is set to expand further through projects in the Maritimes, starting with the ground breaking having taken place on a future production facility east of St. John’s, Newfoundland. The White Hills facility is set to add another 12,000 kgs of cannabis annually, to Canopy’s already massive production numbers. The cannabis giant is also looking to add lots of jobs in the province, with 145 people at their Eastland Dr production site, and another 60 people at four of its retail stores located in St. John’s and Corner Brook. On the retail side, Canopy recently added AB Labs to their product line in their retail stores. Another Maritime production plant is being built in Fredericton, New Brunswick, however it’s only a third the size of the Newfoundland facility.
Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX: ACB) (OTC: ACBFF)
Aurora is hot on the heels of Canopy, having posted relatively optimistic Q3, 2018 results, with a topline that was up 211% over last year’s Q3. With the production addition of its state-of-the-art Aurora Sky facility right around the corner, and coupled with the company’s acquisition of Cannimed, some analysts are projecting that Aurora should soon pass Canopy as the largest seller of medical cannabis. However, whether Aurora can carry that lead over Canopy into the recreational market is less certain, since Canopy has many supply agreements already signed. In anticipation of the recreational market opening up in the near future, Aurora has increased its stake in popular Canadian liquor store chain owners, Alcanna—the largest publicly traded alcohol retailer in North America.
Abattis Bioceuticals Corp. (CSE: ATT) (OTC: ATTBF)
Abattis was built out from its inception to be a complete full-service, vertically integrated competitor in the cannabis space, specializing not only in cultivation, but in extraction, testing, and marketing of new products and brands. The company recently announced it will commence construction on a purpose-built 26,000 square foot cannabis production and extraction facility on Gabriola Island, British Columbia. The project follows a recent acquisition of Gabriola Green Farms Inc., which is now 100% owned by Abattis, a 49% stake in CannaNUMUS Blockchain Inc., which is a platform of cannabis-related cryptocurrency and blockchain transaction tech and Green Tree, which carries cutting edge Vaporizers. Abattis also recently embarked on several partnerships ranging from CBD-infused beer and water, to ground-breaking nanotechnology R&D with UBC.
VERTICAL INTEGRATION GALORE
Much like its multi-billion-dollar predecessors, Abattis Bioceuticals Corp. (CSE: ATT) (OTC: ATTBF) has its fingers in many pies, including growing facilities, extraction technologies, testing laboratories, and advanced marketing and cryptocurrency platforms.
Through the recent announcement of the impending construction of a large-scale growing facility on Gabriola Island was integral to the Abattis game plan. The state-of-the-art facility will include growing, extraction, propagation areas, and a genetics lab, and will be completed in four stages, with an estimated cost of $1.5 million. The Gabriola operation comes from the acquisition of Gabriola Green Farms, which was added specifically to produce cannabis biomass for extraction and manufacturing.
“The engagement of experienced construction contractors for our Gabriola facility crystallizes an important step in our path towards becoming a full-service cannabis company,” said Rob Abenante, Abattis President and CEO in the company press release.
“Once we receive our license through Gabriola and complete construction of the Facility, we will have a large-scale platform from which to cultivate marijuana and produce and sell extracted cannabis products,” added Mr. Abenante.
The company recently went through a rebranding, securing itself as a one-stop provider of downstream cannabis solutions for licensed producers, and manufacturers of cannabinoid-containing products. Already the company has put together strategic deals with manufacturers of multiple products, including an LOI to manufacture CBD-infused mineral water and a definitive agreement to produce CBD Beer.
Abattis also acquired Green Tree Therapeutics, which sells a successful brand of vaporizers in more than 130 medical and recreational stores across North America, and CannaNUMUS Blockchain, which offers payment services to cannabis merchants. The company is also working in collaboration with UBC to develop nanoemulsified and liposomal platforms for transmucosal delivery of cannabinoid-rich hemp oil.
By placing itself in multiple levels of the cannabis sector, Abattis has covered many of the bases that much larger players such as Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, and Aphria did en route to their current positions. Canada’s favorable cannabis environment continues to foster businesses at each size to grow and thrive—thus fulfilling many of the predictions New Frontier has made for the industry to come.
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