Former Canopy Growth (Canopy Growth Stock Quote, Chart, News TSX:WEED) co-CEO Bruce Linton says Canada has about a year to a year and a half before the United States catches up in terms of cannabis research and investment, which means that the federal government and Canadian business better make good use of their first-mover advantage and start cranking out the IP.
What a difference four years makes.
Last go around, cannabis was a much-discussed topic leading into the 2015 federal election, one which saw the Liberals sweep into power on a platform that, among other things, promised to legalize recreational cannabis tout de suite.
And while Trudeau and Co. made good on that ticket, ushering in legal weed last October, the lack of discussion on the topic throughout this year’s campaign was noticeable in its absence.
So says Bruce Linton, current co-chairman at Ottawa-based Martello Technologies.
“When you think about it, we just had an election and as far as I can tell nobody was opposed to cannabis but nobody was in favour of it, and I’m not saying that they should have been out there on the campaign trail saying, ‘We have better supply on our bus versus yours.’ They should have been saying that this sector created the most jobs of any sector in Canada over the last three or four years, more foreign direct investment. Canada has this great leadership position,” says Linton, speaking to BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday.
“This is the only segment that Canada has a leadership position on, hands down, in comparison to every other nation on the planet, and I’d like to have the feds step up and say that we’re going to have our trade commissioners push it,” -former Canopy Growth CEO Linton
“That didn’t happen and I’m hoping that when they resume, it does happen and somebody steps up and says, ‘We would be better for job creation and IP creation,’ and that, I think, will resonate with Canadians,” Linton says.
As far as the immediate future for cannabis goes, Canadian companies are now gearing up for the sale of edibles, oils, drinks and all manner of marijuana derivatives which just became legal and should be available on store shelves sometime in December.
Canadian licensed producers are betting big time on the edibles and drinkables market, which promises higher margins than flower sales and could help to resurrect a flagging sector, which has seen many of the big name pot companies lose over half of their value during the past six months, Canopy included.
But Linton is still bullish on the sector and on Canada’s prospects of coming out a global weed kingpin —if it would only wake up and smell the bud.
“This is the only segment that Canada has a leadership position on, hands down, in comparison to every other nation on the planet, and I’d like to have the feds step up and say that we’re going to have our trade commissioners push it, that we’re going to seek to have federal chairs at universities to actually turn this into the intellectual property that it should be,” says Linton.
“The American companies are completely crushed right now. They are non-existent internationally, really, and their cost to capital where they are is really tough,” he says.
“We probably have another year of that, so Canada has about a year, maybe a year and a half to keep accelerating and creating the differentiated goods that people want. This is a pretty important time. This minority government has to say, ‘How can we make it so that we are creating durable, generational transfer of value?’ I don’t think that it’s only making a pipeline. It’s cannabis and derivative products and the medical outcomes,” Linton says.