Canada’s cannabis industry has begun attracting American investment, with more expected if the Liberals go through with their promise to legalize.
San Francisco-based cannabis-focused hedge fund Poseidon Asset Management said it is looking at increasing its presence in Canada after Justin Trudeau’s election.
“We have one core holding up there currently but we would love to expand that,” said Poseidon founding partner and chief investor Morgan Paxhia.
Because U.S. federal law still labels the cultivation of cannabis illegal, Poseidon only invests in cannabis-related operations like cooling systems or vaporizer technology.
“We wouldn’t want to put our [investors] at risk with that exposure in the United States,” said Paxhia. “That’s why Canada is of interest to us, because we can then participate in that growth.”
Compared to the U.S., where, despite several states choosing to legalize, cannabis remains illegal federally, Canada’s countrywide medical cannabis access and potential recreational market has American investors looking at increasing cannabis holdings in Canada.
“That’s a theme we’ve been seeing for a long time — foreign investors investing in Canadian companies, to the point that most of the capital raised now for Canadian companies comes from overseas,” said Khurram Malik, a Jacob Securities analyst who tracks the medical cannabis space.
American operations have also begun listing their businesses on the Canadian stock market to attack additional investment.
“You’re going to see a lot of U.S. marijuana companies listing on the Canadian exchanges up here,” said Malik.
Malik said Canada has a higher number of legitimate cannabis companies trading on its stock market compared to America, where he said a lot of of those trading are “pretty sketchy.”
“[Companies] are looking for a market where their legitimate peers are trading and that happens to be Canada,” said Malik.
Lawyer Braden Perry said American firms investing north of the border could still face trouble with their home government.
“If you have U.S. money invested in a product that is illegal in the United States, repatriating that money could be considered a money laundering violation,” said Perry.