U.S. cannabis stocks have been kind of weak on the chart in 2017. But if you look at company fundamentals, you will see the cannabis industry firing on all cylinders.
That was on display this week with more good news from one of the fastest growing medical cannabis markets in the U.S.
Four new medical cannabis dispensaries are set to open in Long Island as New York moves to double its medical program.
The New York Health Department recently awarded five licenses to new medical marijuana companies. Once these new companies are operational New York will be home to 10 manufacturing sites and 40 dispensaries across the state.
For the time being these permits are being rewarded to privately owned companies.
For example, Fiorella Pharmaceuticals is one winner. The company will operate a manufacturing facility in Schenectady County and dispensaries in Nassau, Monroe, New York and Saratoga counties.
This wave of new permits comes in response to New York’s booming medical cannabis market.
After coming online in 2016, the most recent data shows there are 25,736 registered patients in New York’s medical marijuana program, an increase of more than 10,000 patients since March when chronic pain was added to the list of treatable conditions.
Looking forward I am expecting New York’s cannabis industry to thrive.
When the medical program launched last year, only 10 conditions were included for treatment. Today that list has has already expanded by 50% to 15 conditions.
Moving forward, as more conditions are added to the list, it will enable more patients to access medical cannabis.
But even more important than additional indications for medical cannabis – the success of New York’s medical market sets the stage for the state to eventually legalize recreational cannabis.
Recreational cannabis sales have the potential to generate huge taxes for politicians who are starved for cash.
According to reports, New Yorkers spend more than $3 billion every year on illegal cannabis. Regulating the industry could provide hundreds of millions in new taxes.
A study conducted by the NYC comptroller in 2013 projected potential tax revenue for legal cannabis in New York City alone could top $400 million.
A group of New York lawmakers recently reintroduced the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act that would legalize cannabis. Although the bill has little chance of clearing a Republican-led Senate it a clear indication of where the legislators are headed.
New York legalizing recreational cannabis would be a big win for the US cannabis industry and create some great investment opportunities.
Because recent events show that demand for recreational cannabis is basically off the charts.
Look no further than Nevada for a great example.
Recreational Cannabis Sales in Nevada are Crushing Expectations
Recreational cannabis began being sold in Nevada on July 1. So far, demand is off the charts and lawmakers had to introduce emergency regulations to help keep the market supplied. Take a closer look at the story below.
As you can see, the US cannabis industry is having another great year.
There’s been a steady stream of good news for the industry lately. More states have legalized. New cannabis programs are taking flight. Sales are hitting new highs.
The recent string of good news gave US cannabis stocks a shot in the arm. The US cannabis index rallied almost 20% in the last month.
However, the US cannabis index is still down about 25% on the year.
In fact, US cannabis stocks have been stuck in a downtrend since topping off in November of 2016. Take a look at the downtrend below.
That weakness is being driven by uncertainty over US drug policy. New US Attorney General Jeff Sessions is an outspoken opponent of cannabis and has expressed an interesting in cracking down on the industry.
That has caused a lot of uncertainty in the cannabis industry and squeezed a lot of capital out of US cannabis stocks.
Looking forward I see two trigger points for US cannabis stocks.
The first is happening on the chart. The US cannabis index is trying to break this downtrend that has been in play for the last nine months.
If this downtrend is broken, I would expect US cannabis stocks to see a very big rally off these recent lows.
The second and bigger trigger for US cannabis stocks is legislative. I am expecting more states to legalize – but I am talking about something much bigger than that. For example, federal legislation to legalize medical cannabis. Or even federal legislation to legalize recreational cannabis. Either of those events would be huge for the US cannabis industry and US cannabis stocks would rip higher on the news.
The Big Picture on US Cannabis Stocks
The US cannabis industry is booming in 2017. Recent news out of New York and Nevada showcase how fast the industry is growing. US cannabis stocks are down in the short run over legislative concerns. For the time being be patient with US cannabis stocks. But if we see any major federal legislative wins – I would expect it to ignite a sustained rally and that would be the time to load up and be aggressive.