As cannabis legalization spreads across the North American continent, industry insiders and pot stock investors alike look to diversify their portfolios in the global marijuana trade. With Canada on track to become the first G7 nation to legalize both recreational and medical cannabis nationally, overcrowding in the market is becoming an issue for stakeholders on all sides. It’s the reason why cannabis companies are starting to look for more opportunities internationally. These are the top four marijuana stocks with international expansion plans:
A Primer On African Weed
For starters, Africa grows more than nine million kilograms of weed per year. This capacity could push the African cannabis market into the billions should more countries legalize over the next few years. Still, while some African nations, such as Ghana, tolerate pot use, the possession of marijuana is still against the law. Only two countries legally license for growing medical marijuana as of June 2018: Zimbabwe, and the southern kingdom of Lesotho.
Lesotho is an ideal place to grow marijuana. The climate is humid and warm, with consistent sunshine (some 300+ days) making the mountainous kingdom a perfect greenhouse for growing weed. The excellent weather caught the attention of two cannabis companies, and they are among some of the first in the sector to sink their roots into Africa by way of Lesotho.
Aphria in Africa
Lesotho legalized medical marijuana back in 2008, but their industry did not kick off until recently. Last month, Aphria Inc. (TSX:APH) entered into a joint venture with Verve Dynamics Inc., a transaction that cost a little over $3 million. Together, the two companies will bring Verve’s high-grade, low-cost marijuana to Aphria’s markets across Europe and North America, as well as Africa. The two will operate jointly as CannInvest Africa.
The rumor mill is running with speculation of oversupply. If it turns out to be true, then Aphria is giving itself ample opportunity for export. As of summer 2018, Aphria ranks third when it comes to production capacity. A new market in Africa could be the boost they need to reach that top spot.
Canopy Growth in Africa
Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX:WEED) (NYSE:CGC) also made a recent foray into southern Africa. The company acquired Daddy Cann Lesotho, which trades under the name ‘Highlands,’ on May 30. Through the acquisition, Canopy issued shares comparable to $28.8 million. A fair cost given that the Highlands acquisition gives Canopy access to a market that could potentially cover 55 million people.
The Motley Fool believes Canopy’s African moves are inspired by Lesotho’s strategic location. The nation is landlocked by South Africa, which creates the ideal greenhouse climate we mentioned earlier. But the premier location also means Lesotho is positioned for exports across the entire African continent.
The Green Organic Dutchman Looks to Jamaica
New cannabis markets are sprouting up everywhere, it seems. Even Jamaica, which is already well-known for its marijuana culture, is working to keep up with modern market trends.
The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX:TGOD) (OTCQX:TGODF) announced a new partnership with Jamaica’s Epican Medicinals on Thursday, June 14. It marks The Dutchman’s first step into the international cannabis market.
Epican Medicinals was the first company to receive a cannabis license in Jamaica, and they are already producing high-quality weed at their Blue Mountain facility. With the Dutchman’s partnership, the two companies will soon begin construction on a brand new 125,000 square foot cultivation facility. Epican will also be opening its first dispensary in Kingston by July of this year.
According to a statement, international expansion is a key part of The Dutchman’s business plan. Their new footing in Jamaica not only gives them access to Epican’s premium cannabis, but it also sets The Dutchman up to export weed into Europe per Jamaica’s regulations.
Maricann Group Looks to Malta
The island nation of Malta joined the ranks of legalized nations in the European Union this April. Malta’s medical cannabis industry is defined by its Good Manufacturing Practices, which make it very attractive to pot stocks looking to expand.
Last month, Maricann Group (CSE:MARI) (OTCQB:MRRCF) announced it would be entering Malta’s cannabis market through its acquisition of Medican Holdings. Maricann applied for licensing in May under Medican, but just last week, Malta Enterprise, the country’s regulatory force, asked the company to resubmit its application under Maricann Group.
According to a recent statement, Maricann is confident this will not cause a delay. They stated that the application would be under review within thirty days. Once approved, the licenses give Maricann the ability to import, export, manufacture, and sell medical cannabis throughout the European Union.
Even with Africa coming up as a major player in the cannabis market, the small islands should not be overlooked. Strategic location seems to play a big role in the future success of these cannabis companies, and investors would be wise to add a few worldly pot stocks to their portfolio.
Tags: Maricann Group, Canopy Growth Corp., The Green Organic Dutchman, Aphria Inc., Jamaica, Africa
Photo Credit: Alexis O’Toole