Canopy Growth expects to enter US for CBD opportunity

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The Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth expects to enter the US market by the end of 2019, according to analysts at Cowen.

Speaking at a New York City-based Contractors Association Lunch on Tuesday, Canopy CEO Bruce Linton said he expects his company to have an active presence in the US cannabis market by late 2019, Cowen says.

Linton's announcement came after the US Senate voted to approve the hemp-friendly Farm Bill. The bill, which is expected to pass in the House on Wednesday and be signed by President Donald Trump, includes a provision for the legalization of industrial hemp.

Hemp is a source of the popular ingredient cannabidiol, or CBD, one of the primary cannabinoids that occur naturally in cannabis. This corner of the market is one to keep an eye on as Coca-Cola reportedly held talks with Canopy rival Aurora Cannabis to develop beverages infused with CBD.

"With the legislation having been signed by Congressional leadership the night before his presentation (and slated for a floor vote by the end of next week), Linton’s tone brightened notably," Vivien Azer, an analyst at Cowen, said in a note sent out on Wednesday.

"As a reminder, Brightfield estimates that U.S. CBD currently generates $418 million in sales, which is expected to climb to $1.6 billion by 2021."

So far in the US, nine states and Washington, DC, allow recreational marijuana, while 31 states and Washington, DC, allow medical marijuana.

Canopy Growth moved its stock listing from Toronto to the New York Stock Exchange in May. Shares were flat for the year until August, when Constellation Brands, the beverage maker behind Corona beer and Svedka vodka, announced a $4 billion investment in the company, sparking a so-called green rush into the cannabis sector and causing companies across the industry to see their valuations more than double in a matter of weeks.

However, shares have been under pressure as of late — after the company missed big on second-quarter revenue on November 14. Canopy was down 44% from its all-time high of $56.89 set on October 15, two days before Canada became the second country after Uruguay to legalize marijuana for recreational use. 

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