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Oct 16, 2018

Tilray CEO sees another country legalizing pot within a year

McCreath: Buying Tilray stock a speculation, not an investment

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The top executive at the world’s biggest cannabis company said he expects a third country to follow the lead of Canada and Uruguay and legalize pot within a year.

“I think we’ll see country three in the next 12 months, and that country will base their regulatory framework on the framework here in Canada,” Brendan Kennedy, chief executive officer of Tilray Inc. (TLRY.O) said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Canada becomes just the second country in the world to allow adult-use cannabis on Wednesday. Canada’s move has spurred the growth of a global industry focused on medical and recreational use that could be worth as much as US$150 billion, according to estimates from Roth Capital Partners.

Kennedy added that he expects several more countries to legalize medical marijuana as well. He declined to say which countries may be next.

“I started working in this industry eight and a half years ago when there were 15 countries that had legal access to medical cannabis, today there are 35,” Kennedy said. “It’s really clear to me that we’ll get to 40, 50, 60 total countries that legalize medical cannabis over the next two years.”

Nanaimo, British Columbia-based Tilray has become the poster child for the recent run-up in pot stocks, gaining more than 800 percent since its July public offering. Traded on the Nasdaq, it’s the only cannabis company without a Canadian listing and also has a very small public float, two factors that have been blamed for recent volatility in the stock.

Kennedy said it simply shows the demand for a cannabis stock that’s regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and reports its financials using U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP.

“We went down the path we went down intentionally because there was pent-up demand from U.S. institutional investors for exposure to this industry, and I think that interest is being reflected in the stock price and those institutional investors see Tilray as a global pioneer,” he said.

Tilray is the largest pot company, with a market value of almost US$15 billion.

Cannabis Canada is BNN Bloomberg’s in-depth series exploring the stunning formation of the entirely new – and controversial – Canadian recreational marijuana industry. Read more from the special series here and subscribe to our Cannabis Canada newsletter to have the latest marijuana news delivered directly to your inbox every day