|“No-Touch” Approach Reduces Risk as Public Companies Tap Explosive Growth of Cannabis Industry|
The marijuana industry is the new investing frontier. As a result of last November’s elections, eight states and the District of Columbia now allow the recreational use of marijuana, while another 28 states permit its use for medicinal purposes. In what has been touted as the fastest-growing industry in the U.S., investment opportunities in the cannabis space appear boundless. Companies like Singlepoint, Inc. (SING) (SING Profile), American Cannabis Company Inc. (AMMJ), General Cannabis Corp. (CANN), The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (SMG) and Terra Tech Corp. (TRTC) are all employing a “no-touch” approach to their cannabis business models. By creating business models that indirectly deal with marijuana plants, these companies reduce or eliminate the risk of falling foul of changing federal laws and restrictions.
According to ArcView Market Research, regulated marijuana sales in North America reached $6.9 billion in 2016, an increase of 30 percent compared to 2015. Sales are expected to continue their pace and reach $21.6 billion by the year 2021, representing CAGR of 26 percent. New Frontier Data projects growth in the medical cannabis market at 12 percent CAGR through 2025, growing from $4.7 billion in 2016 to an estimated $13.3 billion in 2025. During the same period, adult use sales will experience growth of 21 percent CAGR, rising from $1.9 billion to $10.9 billion.
Despite the easing of prohibition and the rosy prospects for the industry, cannabis remains a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act, a place it occupies alongside heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and ecstasy. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) defines Schedule 1 drugs as those with a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence.
In light of the industry uncertainty under the Trump Administration – which has indicated that states with recreational marijuana will see “greater enforcement” of federal laws – marijuana businesses like Singlepoint, Inc. (SING) (SING Profile), which pursues a no-touch strategy when it comes to dealing with marijuana plants, are in a stronger position to combat legal challenges. After all, selling a spade is not the same thing as digging for coal.
Singlepoint, Inc. (SING), through its SingleSeed Payments subsidiary, years ago set up a strategy to offer payment solutions to the cannabis industry. Its mobile marketing and payment solutions include cashless ATM, Pay-by-Text™ and text message marketing. The plan is to develop a marketing program specifically designed for cannabis accounts, enabling consumers to use their credit and debit cards to make payments for cannabis purchases.
In another hands-off strategy, SinglePoint has acquired (http://nnw.fm/g8OO3) an interest in Jacksam Corp., dba Convectium, the profitable, California-based developer of the 710Shark and 710Seal system. This innovative oil filling system can fill and package more than 100 cartridges or disposable vape pens in 30 seconds, making it the fastest and only filling and sealing system in the industry.
Convectium also offers a line of B2C products, which SinglePoint plans to sell online through its SingleSeed.com subsidiary. Convectium expects to record full-year 2017 revenues of $3.5 million, an increase of 150% compared to revenue of $1.4 million for full-year 2016, and, in the first quarter of 2017, Convectium has already “significantly surpassed” its first-quarter sales in 2016.
In a press release, SinglePoint noted that its interest in Convectium is one of several acquisitions the company plans to make under its no-touch strategy. Singlepoint’s market cap is about $33 million, and it currently trades around $0.06 per share.
Another outfit mitigating risk by operating in the marijuana business-to-business (B2B) space is American Cannabis Company (AMMJ). Earlier this month, the company announced that it had secured a second client in Florida. The new client wants to create a cannabis-business chain and plans to open a cultivation operation and multiple dispensary locations. AMMJ currently trades at around $0.69 per share. The company has a market cap of about $35 million.
General Cannabis (CANN) provides real estate, consulting, security, and financing services, as well as distributes infrastructure products, to dispensaries and facilities that grow marijuana. The company may double its revenues in 2016. It is expecting to record over $3 million in sales, compared to 2015 revenues of $1.76 million. The company has a market cap of about $35 million. Its stock currently trades around $2.26 per share.
The hands-off approach is one that The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (SMG) has been employing for some time. In 2015, the company acquired a number of hydroponics companies as part of a strategy to participate in the cannabis market. A Forbes (http://nnw.fm/Cxzl8) story shows that the strategy is paying off. In just over a year after acquisition, its hydroponics business grew by 20 percent, roughly four times the rate of the rest of the company. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company has a market cap of over $5.5 billion and currently trades between $90 and $100.
The operations of Terra Tech (TRTC) are also likely to escape the most unwelcome federal attention by focusing on medical marijuana. The company recently announced plans to set up a new cultivation facility in Oakland, California, which will produce about one metric ton of premium grade cannabis annually. The company has a market cap of about $156 million, and its stock currently trades at around $0.27.
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