‘Long Path to Legalization’: Marijuana Companies Not Convinced of Legal Recreational Market by 2018

Article by Sunny Freeman, Financial Post


Canada’s task force on legalizing pot concluded its highly-anticipated report for the federal government Wednesday, but some marijuana producers believe pot-watchers need to chill expectations for legal recreational sales any time soon.

“It’s a long path to legalization,” said Brendan Kennedy, CEO of private equity firm Privateer Holdings, which has a global portfolio of marijuana-focused investments. He will outline his thoughts on the road ahead for legalized marijuana Thursday in a speech to the Economic Club of Canada.

Speculation that the Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation report will kickstart a multi-billion dollar legal recreational market is a major reason for a recent frenzy in pot stocks — which has led to massive volatility in share prices of Canada’s publicly-traded licensed producers.

The federal government has committed to introducing legislation in the spring of 2017. The Parliamentary Budget Office has projected legal sales of recreational cannabis might begin as early as January 2018, and analysts have been using that as a benchmark. The task force report is being translated, which is expected to be completed in mid-December. It will then be turned over to Cabinet and made public.

“The federal government is planning to legalize recreational marijuana in Canada by 2017 (with sales likely to commence in 2018),” Canaccord Genuity analysts noted in a report focused on the market’s $6 billion sales potential by 2021.

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