The Cannabis Craze: how green is the industry?

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Cannabis. A highly controversial product trying to break out of its taboo and become a large-scale consumer good. This year might see a turn-around. On account of several countries passing or having passed initiatives to legalize the production of marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, the cannabis industry is diverse, disruptive and rapidly growing. Thus, new companies within the cannabis trade are appearing out of thin air.

The craze encompasses everything from start-ups buying supply stocks from large marijuana farms and importing the extracts into their target market for medicinal use, to scientists developing ways to recreate the extracts without having to grow and harvest the plant. Not only are start-ups and healthcare firms getting involved, but also food and beverage consumer giants want a piece, and even IT firms such as Nielsen are jumping on board. According to data from the Bank of Montreal (BMO), cannabis could evolve into a $200 billion industry over the next seven years. The cannabis industry is rapidly developing in terms of array of products and pricing, hence investors who are looking for their next investment opportunity shouldn’t wait for a green light for too much longer.

A wide variety of edible cannabis is sold every day, which accounts for a fair share of consumer spending, however, extracts for inhalation are becoming the larger market segment. Even though the marijuana industry has been highly competitive at the processing level and less so at the retail level, 2019 could reverse this trend. Considering the possible upcoming legalization in many countries of cannabis for medical use, this will likely imply a giant boom in its market share, at both levels.

With Canada federally legalizing marijuana in October 2018, the country pioneers the cannabis universe. The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) announced at end of last year that it will be conducting large scale research within this field and its investment banking unit will take the lead on over-viewing and advising cannabis firms on takeovers and stock sales. Other banks, such as BMO, are joining the competition for a slice of this promising industry. The fact that first-tier investment banks are entering in this industry is a sign that they are getting comfortable with the cannabis trade, according to Business Insider.

The Expert

An impressive expert from our Zebra Insights network who founded his own private cannabis firm recently spoke at one of our clients’ events. His company operates on a global level and focuses on the research, licensing, cultivation and processing of cannabis. He sketched the correlation between cannabis and big data solutions, involving a different spectrum of artificial intelligence than what is known to the market today. He also shared his exclusive insights on cannabis on a governmental level, regarding the endorsement, development and market share in China, plus its competition with the US from a trade war point of view. To top it off, he involved many other industries, such as textiles, biotech and investment management, and of course the scientific, medical and health industries.


As for the opportunities in the near future, it is essential to consider all the different types of products in which cannabis can be implemented making it advantageous for its psychoactive substances and stimulants, not just for it being known as a single drug. However, there are still many concerns regarding the risks of oversupply and the side-effects of the product. One of the most important factors in all types of investments, but especially for cannabis investments, is to be well-informed and to have access to the necessary data given this is a young disruptive industry.