Will Marijuana Legalization Disrupt a $500 Billion Market?

CEO of a major cannabis company says multiple industries stand to lose market share.

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Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC) CEO Bruce Linton believes the future is green, and going to get much greener.

First cannabis shipment

After securing an investment Constellation Brands, the company made another pioneering announcement this week on the medical side of its business. The company announced that it shipped cannabis to a medical research laboratory in the United States. Previously, marijuana was not considered a schedule 1 drug and thus was much more restricted.

“Under [Drug Enforcement Administration] approval, we shipped, for the first time, legally — and I highlight ‘legally’ — cannabis from Canada to the U.S,” according to Bruce Linton, co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Canopy Growth in conversation with CNBC today.

“The DEA-approved partner, which we haven’t announced yet, can actually begin to do medical research, clinical trials if necessary, [and] create the dataset that enables people to know when, what, where, and maybe it can become federally regulated in the U.S. with some input that way,” Linton said.

Short term gains will continue to grow

30 states in the U.S. states already passed legalizing bills allowing medical marijuana use. Canada, however, is set to introduce full legalization of adult recreational use marijuana on Oct. 17. Marijuana producers have reaped the rewards of the surrounding hype. Canopy Growth, however, is focusing on the long game.

Linton claims that the industries his company is set to disrupt total 500 billion dollars. Conservative estimates in the $200 billion range, he says, are unlikely.

The wide range of target industries include “alcohol potentially, cigarettes potentially, pharmaceutical, because whether or not you’re geriatric care, you’re dealing with arthritic conditions, you’re someone who can’t sleep, you’re going through an oncology treatment, I think you’re going to find cannabinoid therapies really hit there.”

“And so you add all that together, plus the existing $200 billion illicit market, that pretty quickly gets you up around $500 billion,” he continued. “It sounds like a ‘How could it be?’ but do a bit of the back-of-the-envelope math. It’s not crazy.”

“Last week I was in the EU, the U.K. They know about Oct. 17 intimately, and they’re trying to figure out, ‘if we’re a government or businesses, how do we quit ignoring cannabis and govern it, regulate it, tax it and turn it into something that might be medicinal and for sure a much better formatted product for a party?'”

“And so what’s going to be the big bump isn’t just Canada,” he said. “If we do it right, Canopy leads. That gives us the position globally that then, all of a sudden, you add a zero or two to the number of people we’re trying to serve.”

On its U.S. NYSE listing, Canopy was up 5.64 percent in Friday trading.

Written by Veronica Viveiros

Veronica has been working with freelance writing clients for over seven years. She has provides writing, coaching and editing services to Capital Market clients. Her educational background in Finance and Journalism has given her a broad base from which to approach The Blunt Investor.

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