Politically, at least, 2018 is turning out to be one heroic year for the cannabis industry. Canada became the first G7 nation to legalize recreational marijuana. Epidolex became the first cannabinoid medicine to earn the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And Canopy Growth became the first cannabis company to list on the New York Stock Exchange.
At the halfway point, it is time to look at which marijuana stocks are coming out ahead. These are the four marijuana stocks with the best move in 2018 so far:
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Canopy Growth Corporation
Despite a recent setback, Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX:WEED) (NYSE:CGC) is one cannabis stock that made some impressive moves during the first half of 2018. In May, they officially up-listed to the NYSE. The welcome may have been cold at first, but the company shook it off and is working hard to maintain their momentum.
With marijuana legalization on the horizon in Canada, Canopy Growth is playing it smart. They are in the process of diversifying their product line to meet demand and have already secured long-term supply agreements across five provinces. The most recent contract was with Alberta, where Canopyentered into a six-month agreement with their Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission to supply the province with weed once recreational sales begin in October.
But Canopy’s gains transcend the local recreational cannabis market. For the rest of 2018, Canopy Growth is focusing on international expansion. Their recent acquisition in Lesotho sets them in motion in the African market, just as they are looking at building a medical marijuana market in Latin America. On July 5, Canopy announced a new subsidiary, Canopy LATAM Corporation. The company acquired Colombian-based Spectrum Cannabis and secured licenses for production and distribution in Colombia. New facilities will be constructed by the end of the year.
Canopy Growth set their sights pretty high for 2018. Is it too soon to say they exceeded their own expectations? Perhaps. But after announcing their Latin American expansion, Canopy’s stock shot up three percent. If anything, their international power moves make them a marijuana stock to watch for the rest of the year.
Aurora Cannabis Inc.
Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB) (OTCQB:ACBFF) has also seen quite a few gains in 2018, so far, none more significant than their merger with MedReleaf this past spring. Around this time last year Aurora was breaking ground at their new Sky facility, and today their 800,000 square foot behemoth is close to becoming the world’s largest cannabis production facility. Once finished it will produce over 100,000 kilograms of marijuana annually.
But Aurora is not stopping there. The year is only halfway over, and there are three more campuses on the way: Aurora Nordic in Denmark, Aurora Vie in Quebec, and Aurora Sun in Alberta. The Sun facility will rival Sky with its epic 1.2 million square feet of greenhouse space capable of producing 150,000 kilograms a year.
It really could be greenhouses that set this pot stock apart in 2018. Not only is Aurora practically setting the standard for greenhouse production, they acquired Larssen last year to start designing their own. The new subsidiary, known as Aurora Larssen, designs modern, high-tech, and fully automated greenhouses. According to a statement, Larssen is projected to earn six million dollars in revenue by September of this year. A diverse move like this one, into an ancillary realm of the cannabis industry, could push Aurora to new heights in 2018.
GW Pharmaceuticals, plc.
GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH) made some of the most significant moves of anyone this year. As the first biotech company to earn FDA approval for a cannabis-based medicine, GW is setting a precedent for big pharma and pot stocks alike. It really is possible to change the public opinion of cannabis, even if that process is painfully slow. The company is playing the waiting game now as the DEA works to schedule Epidolex over the next three months.
According to the DEA timeline, Epidolex will be on the market by fall and should earn a projected $1 billion in sales. In the meantime, GW Pharmaceuticals is looking into all of their options. Their other cannabinoid medicine, Sativex, is in Phase 3 of testing in the United States and already approved in several countries. It is another marijuana-based drug, this time to treat spasticity symptoms in patients with Multiple Sclerosis. GW is also investigating Epidolex’s ability to treat genetic disorders, and Phase 3 of those tests are already under way.
The potential around these cannabinoid medicines is keeping all eyes on GW Pharmaceuticals this year. Breaking down barriers surrounding cannabis could keep this marijuana stock in line for some of the most significant gains yet in 2018.
When it comes to numbers, MariMed Inc. (NASDAQOTH:MRMD) is winning. With over $2 million in revenue, this cannabis stock saw an eighty-one percent increase in the first quarter of 2018, with stock prices climbing over sixty percent. Some experts see them as one of the best marijuana stocks so far this year.
MariMed’s owes these big gains to their growth in both the recreational and medical marijuana markets, specifically in the United States. Legalization hit Massachusetts on the first of July, and MariMed’s production on a 68,000 square foot cultivation facility there is already under way. The company is also pursuing licensing for two more dispensaries in the Boston area. Further down the east coast, MariMed is cultivating in Maryland, and their Nature’s Heritage Cannabis brand of products hit the shelves of 35 new dispensaries in the state earlier this year.
MariMed is setting themselves up this year with a diverse portfolio of brands and products. Nature’s Heritage is just one of them. The reach of their cannabis services extend well beyond cultivation. MariMed’s consultation services and business solutions help them stand out in this industry. They may not have the international reach like a marijuana stock of, say, Canopy Growth Corp., but their gains for this year are considerable, especially when remembering the volatility of the American cannabis industry.
*Photo Credit: WPD