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Is Canopy Growth Corp. losing its lead as cannabis king?

Canopy Growth Corp

Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED) has long played the role of heavyweight champion of the weed sector Canada, but with recent moves by two of its closest rivals, is Canopy in danger of losing its crown?

We delved into data from Google Trends and found that this likely not the case.

Since the race began in earnest a few years back (with the election win of PM Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and their promise to legalize recreational cannabis), one company has stood taller than the rest: Canopy. The Smiths Falls, Ontario, company has made sure that it has the widest reach across our geographically challenging country, setting up operations in seven different provinces. At the same time, CEO Bruce Linton has led by example in how a Canadian pot company might become more than just a domestic success but an international leader by securing investments around the globe in countries still in the early stages of developing their cannabis industries.

And don’t forget about its position on the market leaderboard, where WEED commands the highest market capitalization among the pot stocks at $5.2-billion.

But what about Aurora Cannabis, which not only completed a takeover in January of CanniMed Therapeutics but recently jumped into the Western Canada retail market with an investment in Alberta’s Liquor Stores?

And don’t forget Aphria, from the “greenhouse capital of Canada” in Leamington, Ontario, which made recent headlines by selling its US pot holdings and scooping up medical cannabis company Nuuvera Inc.?

 

 

Both companies have seen lots of investment, too, with Aphria now sitting at a market cap of $2.51 billion and Aurora at $5.07, where it has almost caught up to Canopy.

Suffice to say that it’ll be a long while before the jury is in on who’s the real weed kingpin, as the rec market has yet to come about. And although you can find analysts with Buy ratings for all three stocks, there are other avenues to catch a glimpse of how public perception, at least, is faring vis a vis Canopy and the rest.

Take Google Trends, which crunches all the data on online searches and can act as a rough gauge of public interest in a topic. Tonnes of articles have been written on GT and its potential uses in stock and market analysis, with some accounts calling it a positive tool to add to one’s arsenal while others have concluded that, at best, it can give an indication of when things are about to go south, market-wise, with internet users increasing their searches for certain terms (“debt”, for instance) at times of uncertainty.

But as far as the Canadian marijuana sector goes, here’s what we’ve found.

Canopy’s popularity as a search term (and thus, potentially, as an investment) hasn’t fallen off significantly over the past few weeks, even as its stock price has dropped. GT shows searches for “Canopy Growth Corporation” saw their 90-day and one-year peak during the first week of January, with popularity levels trailing since then but still at levels above anytime in 2017. That speaks to a sustained public interest, both in Canada and worldwide, in the company.

How interested are people in Canopy? Still only marginally so in comparison to companies in more well-established industries. A cross-sector comparison of Canopy to Telus, BMO, Barrick Gold and Air Canada shows that, from the Canadian perspective, at least, Canopy flies far under the radar of all of these giants, with the exception of Barrick.

What about Canopy in comparison to other pot co’s? Unfortunately, as far as Google Trends goes, that will have to wait, since of the five Canadian marijuana companies with market caps over $1 billion — Canopy, Aurora, Aphria, MedReleaf and Chronos — so far, Google only recognizes Canopy as a topic (in other words, as a corporation rather than a group of search terms).

No doubt that will change as the sector gets up and running, but in the meantime, it’s at least indicative in itself that Canopy still holds a higher stature in the public consciousness than the other pot companies.

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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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