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"The beauty of being in business is that your business engages all aspects of your mind, I think that is why you become successful, business challenges you to be more than you are, and that is where the miracle takes place." Timothy Ross, May 2004
I like Winston Churchill, he had the incredible ability to move the English language into action. My mentor Jim Rohn, say's , "Don't be afraid to borrow if someone else has said it well. Winston Churchill said, "The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is." That's so well said. You could stay up all night and not think of that. " ~ Timothy Ross
"On June 20, 2018, Bill C-45 – The Cannabis Act – was passed,with the expectation that Canadians will be able to legally consume recreational cannabis without criminal penalties by October 17, 2018. Canadian cannabis stocks surged on the news, with Canopy Growth gaining almost 6% in one day. Year to date,2 Aurora Cannabis Inc. and Canopy Growth Corp. have been the second- and fourth-most active stocks, respectively, on the TSX.3 Over the same period, stock prices for both companies have been volatile — Canopy’s price has ranged from as high as $47.76 to as low as $24.11. All this suggests that investors should exercise caution before jumping onto this bandwagon. But beyond concerns about volatility and returns, should responsible investors climb aboard?
NEI’s ESG Services Team has developed a position on cannabis by examining:
Where cannabis fits under our evaluation process by comparing it to products with some similarities, including tobacco, alcohol and prescription medicine.
The state of the regulatory and market environments.
The environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks that are most material to cannabis companies.
As responsible investors, we seek to generate sustainable value for shareholders and other company stakeholders, as well as for society as a whole. As such, we need to determine whether the cannabis industry has the potential to create sustainable value, which ESG risks are inherent to the industry and whether cannabis companies are adequately positioned to be responsible stewards of their products and services."
There is lots more in the report for consideration, 9 pages of
Material Risks tht cannabis companies will have to prioritize ESG concerns top of mind
Environmental: Growing cannabis requires optimal conditions of temperature, humidity and light intensity; hence the bulk of cannabis is grown indoors (without natural sunlight) or in greenhouses. Both methods are extremely energy intensive, resulting in potentially large carbon footprints; and water intensive, resulting in environmental and social risk from wastewater discharge and drawing excessive groundwater in water scarce regions. Most cannabis companies that acknowledge ESG risk in their MD&A disclosure focus on environmental and climate change risks, which we view positively. Social: Quality control and product safety are the most significant social risks for cannabis producers. Cannabis has to meet certain quality standards — tested and monitored by Health Canada and the FDA — and must not contain pesticides, heavy metals, fungi or bacteria. Product safety has been under greater public scrutiny since medical cannabis provider Organigram (recently acquired by Canopy Growth) had to recall some of its products because of contamination with a banned pesticide.19 The company faces several class-action lawsuits as a result, after patients reported suffering from severe nausea after daily use of the contaminated product.The nature of the product presents a second significant social risk. The Canadian Medical Association has stressed the need for access to substance abuse and mental health services to be expanded. The federal government has committed $62.5 million to cannabis education programs for youth.22 In addition to federal and provincial contributions, cannabis producers will likely be required to contribute to education and addiction treatment programs, in the way that producers of alcoholic beverages participate in and spearhead programs for alcohol addiction and impaired driving education. Thirdly, cannabis companies state that a positive public perception is crucial to achieving the social licence to operate. We agree and, as such, identify responsible marketing and post marketing co-vigilance policies and practices as another key issue for cannabis producers. Governance: As stated earlier, cannabis companies have experienced unprecedented growth over the last year and, as a result, have found it challenging to scale up their corporate governance controls to keep pace with that growth. As the industry will be heavily scrutinized by regulators and may be prone to criticism from the public, cannabis companies need independent and qualified board oversight to provide accountability to stakeholders, including investors. Proper corporate governance controls can assist in bridging the credibility gap in this new industry.
I came across another commentary that wasn't focusing on the ESG aspects but the "new industry component" from Gaurdian that was recently put out, it's an interesting read ......https://www.guardiancapital.com/media/61435/gca-q3-2018-commentary.pdf
"By now every reader will likely be aware that Canada is about to legalize the recreational consumption of cannabis in October, becoming one of just a handful of nations to have done so. A level of buzz (pun intended) surrounds the industry, currently with 118 licensed medical cannabis producers, of which several dozen are publicly-traded in Canada. The largest of these have posted spectacular returns, rising between 200% and 500% over the past year alone. One, by virtue of uniquely gaining a NASDAQ listing south of the border during the quarter, rose more than tenfold in its initial two months of trading. At its heights, the company, yet to turn a profit, had a market valuation greater than household Canadian names such as Loblaw, Fortis, Husky Energy and Canadian Tire. To a degree, the euphoria is understandable: it is uncommon to witness the birth of an entirely new industry. There are, however, periodic historical reference points, such as the rise of the automobile at the start of the 1900’s and the dot. com euphoria near the end of that century, and like all other precedents, the legalization of recreational cannabis shows potential. It is also worth revisiting how these prior episodes all played out, with an initial period of excitement that results in sharply rising stock prices, and a growing list of participant companies able to fairly easily attract investors into newly listed shares. Almost invariably, a level of industry overbuilding results, with too much capacity added from this initial group. From there, an interval of re-sorting takes place, as stock prices subside, weaker competitors exit or merge, and a much smaller collection of survivors move forward. For example, in the early 1900’s, during the initial days of transition from horse to car, there were an estimated 2,000 automobile manufacturers in America, but the list had been winnowed to essentially three over the next twenty years. Another example might be, the estimated 90 million miles of fiber-optic cable installed across America during 1999, in anticipation of a coming internet boom. The boom eventually did materialize, but for the first three years, 95% of this network lay “dark” and unused, and the major players backing its installation had ceased to exist. At this point, valuing these recreational cannabis producers requires making some assumptions on end market demand, wholesale pricing, and production costs. Beyond this, factors such as consumption growth, regulatory regime and international factors – both in terms of possible demand, and new competition – must be weighed. Finally, once all of this is considered, a view on valuation is required. Given the list of risks at the current stage, an ample margin for error should be demanded before moving forward with an investment. Simply basing an investment on an optimistic industry view alone can backfire, even picking the eventual winners is no guarantee of short-term profits. Consider those who bought shares in technology hardware company Cisco, commonly considered a provider of the “plumbing of the internet”, in the late 1990’s. These investors were correct in their estimation that the company would go on to prosper from rapidly growing data consumption: company revenues, at just over $12 billion in fiscal 1999, had risen to over $49 billion in the most recent annual set of results. However, a lack of discretion on valuation means these buyers near the peak are still looking to recoup their initial investment, over fifteen years later.
At Guardian, we look to invest in companies with sustainable competitive advantages, strong management teams, and a proven record of superior financial performance. These are necessary ingredients when attempting to value securities for consideration. By definition, this makes it difficult to commit to investments in brand new industries where there is an absence of reference points regarding pricing, costs, end market demand, to say nothing of regulatory constraints. Until these materialize, it is certainly possible that a chosen cohort of stocks continues to levitate, supported by faith and a lack of data to refute speculation. This therefore, is the essential difference: pot stocks – like cars and tech companies – represent a speculative bet rather than an investment. There will be winners and losers in this space; companies that learn how to operate publicly, stay onside with regulations, balance growth and stability, will be the winners. Which constituents of this new subset of healthcare companies will operate profitably and sustainably is unknown today. We want our clients investments to go up, just not “Up in Smoke”.
Reading all this, I know a few people who have done very well speculating on their own in our community, so far. It reminds me of this song from Rascal Flatt's , it could be a two edged sword, out too late or staying too long. Courting pot stocks has a lot of ..... these days