If this pot was Canadian investors would value it at $2 billion.
If this pot was Canadian investors would value it at $2 billion. Lester Black
There’s a new report out today that predicts the Canadian market for cannabis will be worth $5 billion by 2021. That may seem like a lot of joints but it’s actually a shockingly small amount of joints when I introduce you to a second number: $43 billion. That’s how much the stock market values the ten largest pot companies in Canada. That means these companies are valued at almost 9 times more than what every single Canadian will spend on weed next year, which is fucking absurd.

The stock market loves Canadian pot companies. These investors can't seem to get enough of them, but this report begs the question that I have been asking for the last year: how can these companies be worth so much money when their home country’s entire pot market is just a fraction of their net worth? Can your pizza company be worth $100 million when your entire city's market for pizza is just $5 million? The whole Canadian pot market scene, which has made some Washington entrepreneurs into overnight mega-millionaires, has an air of absurdity to it. And this report, which is the first report on Canada’s market that makes predictions using actual sales figures and not just estimates, should be humbling news to pot investors.

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There are, of course, some qualifying factors for why these stocks have gotten so valuable nearly overnight. Canada is the first major economy to completely legalize pot, which is extremely different from what we are doing in the United States. Smoking or selling pot is still highly illegal according to federal law, which keeps major companies from investing in our pot industry.

Without the ability to invest in pot at home, lots of American and international investors are putting their money into these Canadian companies. These investors are conceivably betting that with billions of dollars in capital, these Canadian companies will be able to invest in the world’s next hot pot products, which could then be sold in markets outside of Canada. A few Canadian companies have also been able to secure the rights to export pot to other countries, which means they have access to customers beyond Canada’s measly $5 billion market. But today’s report certainly makes it clear that these companies aren’t going to be able to justify their evaluations based on how much pot they can sell in Canada.

Investors don’t seem to be worried about how small Canada’s market is. Aurora Cannabis and Cronos Group, two of the biggest Canadian weed companies, have seen their stock go up 59 percent and 109 percent in the first five weeks of 2019. That has increased the evaluation of Aurora Cannabis by $2.9 billion, or more than half of all the weed that analysts think Canadians can buy in a year. I think these investors are stoned.

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