Unlike its southern neighbor, Canada legalized medical marijuana nationwide back in 2001. That means that the industry has evolved greatly and is not plagued with state restrictions like the United States, where, as of Oct. 2019, there are 33 states (and Washington, D.C.) where pot is allowed for medical use. In Nov. 2017, the House of Commons of Canada passed the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45), allowing the legal use of marijuana for recreational purposes, and in June 2018, it received the Royal Assent (formal approval of an act by a monarch). This lies in stark contrast to the U.S., where the immediate future for legal weed is in question after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned an Obama-era law that protected states choosing to liberalize legal marijuana laws.
While uncertainty prevails in the United States, investors could get a piece of the pot action by investing in Canadian stocks that are either listed on major exchanges or traded in the over-the-counter (OTC) markets. Most of these stocks can be labeled as penny stocks.
Penny stocks may carry a significantly higher risk component.
Here's a look at some of those companies. All figures are accurate as of Oct. 16, 2019.
1. Canopy Growth Corp.
Market Cap: $6.969B
Canopy (CGC) is touted as Canada’s first unicorn in the pot market. While the company sells its product under various brand names, the brand "Tweed" has had the most recognition, thanks to its affiliation with rapper Snoop Dogg. The company listed on NYSE on May 24, 2018. Canopy stock is down about 33% year-to-date.
2. Aurora Cannabis
Market Cap: $5.071B
Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB) debuted on the Canadian venture stock exchange (TSX) in Oct. 2016 and on the New York Stock Exchange in Oct. 2018. In addition to producing dry cannabis, Aurora received a license to sell cannabis oil in Jan. 2017. It has been around longer in the OTC market, at one point returning 347% over a one-year period. In May 2018, Aurora Cannabis purchased MedReleaf Corp. (OTC: LEAF) for $2.5 billion. Then, early in 2019, Aurora bought organic cannabis producer Whistler Medical Marijuana Corporation. Aurora stock is down roughly 30.7% year-to-date.
3. Aphria Inc.
Market Cap: $1.807B
The company calls itself one of the lowest cost producers of marijuana. Aphria (APHA) produces dry cannabis as well as cannabis oil of varying qualities and strength. In Dec. 2017, their stock surged after the company announced that it had struck a deal to sell its products through the online site of Shoppers Drug Mart, a major Canadian pharmacy chain. However, in the second and third quarters of 2019 Aphria slumped, dropping by about 16.8% total year-to-date.
4. The Cronos Group
Market Cap: $2.844B
Cronos Group (CRON) is in the business of investing in pot growers and companies in the marijuana business. This Canadian company both produces its own cannabis products and invests in other cannabis companies. Cronos' portfolio currently includes diverse brands such as PEACE NATURALS, a global health and wellness company, British Columbia-based cannabis producer COVE, and hemp-derived CBD producer Lord Jones. Thanks to the closure of a $1.8 billion investment from Altria early in 2019, Cronos is well-positioned to continue to expand its holdings going forward. Still, alongside other Canadian cannabis stocks, Cronos has declined this year, dropping about 29.4% year-to-date.
5. The Hexo Corporation
Market Cap: $656.233M
HEXO Corp. (HEXO) is the first licensed medical marijuana producer headquartered in Quebec. This company focuses on recreational marijuana use. In October of 2019, HEXO launched Original Stash, a value-conscious line of cannabis priced at just $4.49 per ounce, including taxes. HEXO stock has dropped by more than 34% year-to-date.
6. CannTrust Holdings Inc.
Market Cap: $195.117M
Appotex Inc., one of Canada's premier pharmaceutical companies, has an exclusive global partnership with CannTrust Holdings Inc. (CTST). In the Niagara region of Canada, CannTrust has a 430,000 square foot cultivation facility, making it the sixth largest marijuana facility in Canada. CannTrust offers a variety of dry and drop-based products for pharmaceutical applications. The stock debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in Feb. 2019, and it has declined by nearly 86% since that date.
7. Namaste Technologies Inc.
Market Cap: $97.082M
Namaste Technologies Inc. (OTC: NXTTF) focuses on the ecommerce side of the medical marijuana business. They are operating at 32 sites in 20 different countries. In 2017, Namaste added CannMart Inc. into their portfolio. CannMart has a distribution network in Toronto, which helps the ecommerce site develop its retail distribution. The stock has declined by 57.9% year-to-date.
8. OrganiGram Holdings
Market Cap: $549.118M
OrganiGram Holdings (OGI) is a licensed producer of medical marijuana products. It began trading on the NASDAQ in May of 2019. This company's portfolio includes dry cannabis and cannabis oil, along with accessories like vaporizers that can be purchased on its website. Since launching on the NASDAQ, its share price has declined by 54.8%.
9. Emerald Health Therapeutics
Market Cap: $101.379M
Emerald Health Therapeutics (OTC: EMHTF) is also a producer of dry cannabis and cannabis oils for medical use based out of British Columbia. New Cannabis Ventures reports that the company raised CAD 10 million in equity from Dundee Capital. Its stock value has dropped by close to 71% year-to-date.
10. The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc.
Market Cap: $238.736M
The company produces marijuana under the banner of its wholly owned subsidiary 7Acres. In Dec. 2017, SupremePharma changed its company name to The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (OTC: SPRWF). In October of 2019, the company's wellness brand Blissco received a license to sell cannabis oil, which may lead to an increase in Supreme Cannabis' product offerings. Supreme Cannabis stock has dropped by just under 34% year-to-date.