For its part, $14 billion Canopy Growth remains one of the largest players in the burgeoning cannabis industry. The company is perhaps best known in the U.S. for its partnership with Corona beer maker Constellation Brands and its plans to locate a hemp operations in New York State. It has announced partnerships with both Martha Stewart and Seth Rogen in 2019.
But despite the announcement, the deal still faces a number of important questions. Though several U.S. states have approved the recreational use of marijuana in recent years, consumption of the plant remains prohibited by federal law.
Even in states that have approved recreational use, national banks’ moves to accept deposits or loan to cannabis businesses could make them vulnerable to a Department of Justice suit and the ire of the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA prohibits companies from adding active ingredients that are drug products in foods and drinks.
The deal could also put them at odds with the stock exchanges on which they’re listed, which have their own policies about illicit business practices.
“Until now, the Nasdaq has not been willing to list companies that have U.S. ‘plant touching’ cannabis operations,” said cannabis lawyer David Feldman, a partner at Duane Morris. “What’s interesting is that they didn’t tie this to Nasdaq, they tied it to legalization.”
“It is interesting that they are limiting it to legalization, rather than completing the acquisition when TSX and Nasdaq are prepared to allow the listing,” he added.