Time for U.S. markets to show some love to cannabis companies, no?
"This is one of the great tragedies of the cannabis industry," said Kris Krane, president and co-founder of cannabis-focused investment management firm 4Front Ventures. "We're giving this industry to Canada."
Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 1999, and lawmakers in the country are expected to finalize laws to legalize recreational cannabis at the federal level this summer. Because of its more lenient regulations, Canada has become home to many of the world's largest cannabis companies.
By contrast, lawmakers in the U.S. have taken a state-by-state approach to legalizing cannabis. There are currently 30 states with some degree of legal cannabis, but due to the lack of federal-level regulation, those 30 must typically confine their business to remain within state lines.
What's more, U.S.-based exchanges are forbid from listing shares of U.S.-based cannabis companies, as the firms that occupy the big boards on the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq Composite are required to obey federal-level law. That means that even if a company only operates in states with legal cannabis, it can't list on U.S. exchanges because of the lack of federal regulation. >>>