Marijuana News Today: Potential Delay for New York Pot Legalization

Marijuana News Today
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Marijuana News Today

Pot legalization in the U.S. has been on a steady march of progress so far this year, but in the marijuana news today we have our first blow to the movement in 2019 as New York drops the potential marijuana legalization from its budget.

New York marijuana legalization has been a hot topic this year since Governor Andrew Cuomo came out in support of legalizing pot in the state. Since then, however, progress has slowed, leading to Cuomo dropping marijuana revenue from the state budget.

The good news is that Cuomo remains supportive of marijuana legalization in New York, even if dropping it from the budget is a setback.

“For us, marijuana is a relatively new issue,” said Cuomo. “It really started with my proposal this year but they have signaled that they need more time to talk about it. Therefore I didn’t want to count the revenue for marijuana in this budget.” (Source: “Cuomo drops pot legalization from New York state budget,” The Hill, March 20, 2019.)

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“My take is it will be done during the legislative session post budget and therefore I took the revenue out of the budget,” he added.

But Cuomo did go on to say that there would potentially be difficulty passing a marijuana bill outside of the budget. The Democrats control the Governor’s Mansion and both chambers of state congress, but that doesn’t mean marijuana legalization is a certainty.

All that being said, I believe that New York marijuana legalization will take place in 2019. While this does represent a setback of sorts, the state is surrounded by neighbors who are reaping the benefits of legal pot, and it will likely want to join the party.

Not to mention that popular support is continuing to grow for marijuana across the country. It would be politically harmful to both Cuomo and the Democrats in state congress to fail to pass the bill, so I imagine it will be a priority.

So while being dropped from the budget is hardly good news for New York marijuana legalization, it is hardly a deathblow to the cause.

CGC Stock

The political developments in the marijuana news today were, for the first time in a long time, negative, and that’s being reflected on the pot stock market.

Many stocks remained static or dipped in early-morning trading today, and Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE:CGC) was no exception. CGC stock fell by about two percent to start the day, but has gained about one point over the past five days.

Despite the drop in its share price, Canopy Growth has made some very interesting moves this week that bode well for its long-term health.

For one, the company acquired AgriNextUSA, a hemp enterprise that advocates for hemp in the U.S. and seeks bolster the hemp industry within the country.

AgriNextUSA has visions of industrial farming of hemp and accelerating its acceptance in the U.S. while simultaneously expanding its applications. Canopy is hoping to leverage its acquisition of AgriNextUSA into a smoother entry into the U.S. cannabis market.

The United States is the next stop on Canopy Growth’s desired path to becoming a leading, revenue-generating company focused on all aspects of cannabinoids and their potential,” said Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth Corp. (Source: “Canopy Growth Acquires Hemp Company to Accelerate Expansion in the United States,” Cision, March 20, 2019.)

Being able to carve out a significant stake of the U.S. cannabis market via hemp would be a huge boon to Canopy. The U.S. market, naturally, is among the most coveted in the cannabis industry.

While marijuana legalization is still likely a few years off, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 allowed for the cultivation of hemp, and therefore cannabidiol. Canopy is looking to use that opening to enter the market, with this latest acquisition ideally aiding that process.

It didn’t stop there, however.

Expanding into one new market wasn’t enough for Canopy Growth Corp, as it announced that it had extended its partnership with OG DNA Genetics and hopes to expand into an as-of-yet-undisclosed European market. (Source: “Canopy Growth And DNA Genetics Extend And Expand Relationship,” Canopy Growth Corp, March 19, 2019.)

Both deals are strong additions to Canopy Growth and show that the company is focused now on international expansion.

I’ve always been a proponent of marijuana companies looking for the next big market rather than resting on their laurels, so I mark both of these deals as major wins for CGC stock in the long term, even if they aren’t paying off with big gains in the present.

TLRY Stock

In direct contrast to Canopy Growth, you have Tilray Inc (NASDAQ:TLRY), a company that didn’t score any major wins this week, which has led some to raise questions about the company’s future viability.

Much of these questions stemmed from its latest quarterly report.

Revenue for fiscal 2018 increased to $43.1 million, up 110% compared to last year. That’s a huge increase, mainly motivated by the legalized Canadian market. The company also doubled the amount of kilograms sold. (Source: “Tilray, Inc. Reports Full Year 2018 Financial Results,” Tilray Inc, March 18, 2019.)

But those numbers weren’t enough to compensate for big losses. Net loss for the year came in at $67.7 million ($0.82 per share) compared to $7.8 million ($0.10 per share) for 2017.

The quarterly report left many wondering whether TLRY stock could justify its massive valuation.

You’ll remember that Tilray shot onto the scene with a hugely profitable initial public offering, but has since been steadily declining.

Tilray Inc faces the issue of being extremely hyped up and not being able to support that excitement with moves of substance. It has yet to score a major partnership or marquee deal that would help justify its valuation.

As such, investors are beginning to worry about the long-term prospects of TLRY stock. So am I.

Tilray stock fell by about half a point in early-morning trading today and is down nearly three percent over the past five days.

Tilray Inc continues to waver in 2019 while so many of its competitors are seeing huge gains through the first three months.

I’m wary of TLRY stock; it has a lot to prove before I’d be bullish. Not to mention that it still has a long way to fall if it can’t turn around investor sentiment.

CGC and TLRY Stock Performances

The performances of CGC stock (black line) and TLRY stock (blue line) over the past week are seen on the chart below:

Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com

Analyst Take

The marijuana news today was certainly not as positive as it has been in the recent past. That said, the news was hardly back-breaking.

The delay in New York marijuana legalization is hard to swallow but will likely be just that—a delay, not a cancellation. I suspect that marijuana will be legal in the Empire State before too long.

Meanwhile, CGC stock continues to impress while TLRY stock’s struggles continue.