Roughly one year into Canada’s experiment as the first industrialized country to legalize marijuana, the project gives the appearance of being a bust.
Appearances are deceiving in this case, as we’ll see in a moment.
But the first 13 months of Canadian pot legalization have been characterized by product shortages, a woefully insufficient number of retail outlets, and chronic losses at even the biggest pot firms.
Investors in the top 10 Canadian pot companies alone have lost a stunning $21 billion in shareholder value since August.
The industry was dealt a further blow last month when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned of health risks from CBD, or cannabidiol.
CBD is the non-intoxicating compound in the marijuana plant on which the pot industry has placed its biggest bet.
CBD is a claimed elixir for anxiety, depression, chronic pain, skin conditions and much more. Widely embraced for several years by North American consumers, CBD is commonly marketed as an additive in specialty coffee, cosmetics, candy and pet food products.
CBD is also an intended gateway for Canadian pot firms to the vast U.S. market, where the legal sanctions against CBD are lighter than for dried cannabis.