Canadian Cannabis Companies Make a Move on US Hemp
By Shay Addams
Like rolling thunder, the first Canadian dreadnought shot over the border and fired the shot heard around the world of cannabis on January 14, 2019. The day Canopy Growth — the juggernaut of the cannabis industry — unleashed its secret weapon in their goal to dominate the global cannabis industry, a license to grow hemp in New York and plans to do so in other US states.
And the Hemp Wars were on.
American hemp farmer shook in their boots when Tilray pulled the trigger on February 20. Another giant in Canadian cannabis, Tilray announced plans to acquire Manitoba Harvest, the world’s largest hemp food company. Manitoba owns more than 1,600 retail outlets for CBD products in the US and Canada. And plans to grow hemp across the United States. The implied threat for US hemp farmers? That the massive war chests of these titans assured them certain victory in their campaign to dominate hemp farming in the US and globally. As well as monopolize the valuable CBD oil extracted from it.
US Hemp Companies Hit Hard
The success stories of US hemp companies like Charlotte’s Web took on a darker tone as the battle lines were drawn. Speculation among investors had held that the Farm Bill’s legalization of hemp in December, 2018, would spur even greater success for companies focused on hemp. Outfits llike Charlotte’s Web. Until the Canadian invasion, Charlotte’s Web had been called “the blue chip of cannabis stocks.”
US Hemp Stocks Fall
Overnight, Charlotte’s Web stock prices plunged like Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing after being hit laser cannon fire during his attack on the Death Star. From over $15 to $13.45 on February 22. Other US hemp growers and CBD producers also suffered from news of the Canadian invasion. Medical Marijuana, Inc. took a dive February 6. CV Sciences Inc, February 4. Most were recovering by February 26.
The Resistance Emerges
In late February, relatively small companies announced either plans to grow hemp or to expand current cultivation in Florida and South Carolina. Kentucky, which dominated the hemp industry when it was a major economic force in the US and the world, was already on board.
From King Cotton to King Hemp?
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Florida’s commissioner of agriculture, Nikki Fried, said hemp is on the verge of becoming a “…multibillion-dollar industry in the state.” After legislators finalize regulations, permits will be issued. They plan to open the door for small farmers, too, who aim to plant much more hemp. Florida’s climate, they say, makes it one of the best places to grow hemp in the US, all year.
Veritas Farms in Fort Lauderdale plans to cultivate hemp in Florida. Veritas currently grow hemp on a 140-acres Colorado farm, according to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. They are already selling CBD products online, both in Florida and nationally. Green Roads, with labs in Gainesville and Davie, has a head start. Investing over a million dollars in the state hemp program has enabled them to grow and test varieties of hemp.
In South Carolina, says local newspaper The State, City Roots’ deal with Brackish Solutions enables them to develop what they say will be the biggest hemp farm in the state. Brackish has the lead. In 2016, it became one of the first of few industrial hemp companies in the state’s Hemp Pilot program in 2016.
Brackish already grow hemp and produce CBD medical-grade, CBD-rich hemp oil for nutraceutical products and dietary supplements. Other companies, such as the Charleston Hemp Company, are expanding. Kentucky, Georgia and other southern states, which dominated hemp in the 19th Century, are already joining the alliance.
And so the next battle in the Hemp Wars begins.
Disclosure: Shay Addams is neither long nor short in stock of any company mentioned in this article and does not plan to initiate any positions in the next 30 days.
- Canopy and Tilray announce plans for US hemp farming
- Florida hemp farming
- South Carolina hemp farming
Shay Addams has written about cannabis for High Times and Stone Age, and articles and books about computer games for numerous publishers. He has been a long-term investor in cannabis stocks since 2018. Today he blogs about the cannabis industry and stocks. His experience in marijuana sales, from distribution to wholesale and retail sales, gives him exclusive insights into the legal cannabis market.
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