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Hey Google, are Canadian marijuana stocks a worldwide phenomenon?

Cannabis Legalization

Canadian marijuana stocks have been on quite a run this past year.

Newly-formed companies have been netting huge financing rounds in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars and share prices have gone through the roof since November, only to come back to Earth a touch over the past week.

And while the weed market’s trials and tribulations leading up to legalization certainly have captured investor and public attention here in Canada, is the rest of the world watching? How big is Canada’s pot story worldwide?

A glance at Google Trends shows the search topic “marijuana stocks” has had a few major bouts of activity over the past half-decade, one in 2014 in connection with legalization of recreational weed in Colorado and Washington State in the US, another in the fall of 2016 as more US states like California, Maine and Massachusetts gave pot the thumbs up and, thirdly, a spike in interest over the tail end of 2017 and leading into the new year.

Google Trends (GT) puts that last bump as the biggest, meaning that more people worldwide have been searching and thinking about marijuana stocks over the past month than any other period over the past five years (and more than any other time since 2004 when GT started collecting such data).



This most recent spike dovetails with the run in stock prices for Canopy Growth, Aphria and the rest, so we might want to conclude that this worldwide interest over the past month has had Canada’s pot stocks as its focus. But since US pot stocks also went on a tear starting in November, it’s unclear how Canada-centric that interest really is.

But where is that “worldwide” attention coming from, you ask? Canada and the United States, mostly.

GT provides a relative scale out of 100 to rank search popularity across regions, meaning that a country with an 80 score has twice as much search activity (adjusted to population size) as one with a 40 score.

On “marijuana stocks,” Canada gets tops at 100, while the US is second at 72. Everywhere else scores ten or less, with only a small handful that even register on GT —Australia gets an eight, Israel a five, Sweden a three and bunch of others come in with ones.

The grouping itself is not remarkable, as it’s states like Australia, Israel and Germany that are thinking about joining Canada on the road to legalization. But the contrast shows that in terms of the business of pot, no one else is paying much attention. All 31 cities on GT’s interest index, for instance, are either Canadian or American, with Canadian cities occupying numbers one through seven on the ranking (Calgary scored the 100).



What about particular pot stocks? On that front, Google Trends is a little less helpful. Out of the half-dozen Canadian companies with the highest market capitalization (Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, Aphria, Cronos, MedReleaf and Canntrust Holdings), Google Trends only recognizes the name “Canopy Growth Corp” as a topic. In itself, that speaks to Canopy’s international presence but it also says something about how localized the interest in Canada’s weed stocks really is.

And about that term, “weed stock”? It may be somewhat of a Canadianism, in itself, as practically nowhere else in the world do people care to call them that.




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About The Author /

Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.
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