Could a Canadian public cannabis company jump skip regulations by investing in strategic U.S. State markets?
In an intriguing if not potentially first-of-its kind venture, Canadian-based Marapharm Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: MRPHF) (CSE: MDM.CN) (FSE: 2M0) has now moved squarely into another American state market. This time it is Nevada. Marapharm Ventures is based in British Columbia, and described on their website as a “developmental stage” public company.
The company has just announced that it has two crews working on the construction of two 5,000 square foot buildings with a completion date of October 31 this year. The company is also rapidly moving to set up a grow and processing plant in the state. They also have plans for a 360,000 square foot facility in Las Vegas.
Beyond Nevada, Marapharm has state market presence in Washington and California. They have also applied to become a licensed producer under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Act in Canada.
The move comes at an interesting time, both domestically and internationally. So does their expansion footprint.
Instead of looking to overseas markets, Marapharm has taken advantage of liberalizing laws in Canada to invest in the American state market. This is a risky play for a number of reasons, no matter how daring it is. In essence, what this means is that “legal” drug money from Canada is now entering the American market directly – and further doing so at a time when it is actually front running even Canadian legalization.
Nevada has always been an outlier in the cannabis space. They became the first state to create medical reciprocity rights over cannabis. It has also come out, guns blazing, to implement a recreational market literally months after the law passed to create it. In contrast, California, which passed its legalization mandate at the same time as Nevada (November 2016), is still at least a year away from market launch.
Marapharm, in effect, has moved itself strategically to capture market share of a fully recreational market ahead of its “domestic” supply base and structured in a way to shield itself from the worst of drug-war regulated international financial restrictions.
How successfully other companies can make such plays is unclear. Why? “Foreign investment” of “drug money” is one of the issues bound to get the attention of various international agencies – starting with banks. In fact, this is an issue south of the border right now as much as it is domestically in the United States.
However, for now, as Marapharm’s larger Canadian colleagues primarily look to other federally legal export countries, this Canadian company is looking to stay ahead of the regulation game, even if one U.S. state market at a time.