In the early months of the COVID pandemic, many people questioned the future of the cannabis industry. After the sector was declared to be an essential industry, many US operators were able to breathe a sigh of relief.
The US cannabis sector will come out of the pandemic stronger than ever as many operators were able to cut expenses as e-commerce cannabis sales remain higher than pre-pandemic levels. When you combine lower expenses with several new medical and recreational cannabis markets, you have a recipe for success and we are bullish on the direction the industry is heading.
Democrats have the majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives and we expect to see legal cannabis legislation advance under a Joe Biden administration. We believe the legalization or decriminalization of cannabis would be the most significant catalyst for the entire industry and expect to see developments on this side of the industry this year.
A positive indicator that we identified for the US cannabis industry is related to the investments and partnerships that leading Canadian Licensed Producers (LPs) are making. From breweries to hemp farms, interest in US assets from Canadian LPs has been spiking and this is a trend that we expect to continue.
Through a strategic investment and partnership agreement with Acreage Holdings, Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) (CGC) is well positioned to capitalize on the US cannabis industry as soon as legislation permits. Acreage is considered to be a leading multi-state operator (MSO) and has attractive leverage to strategic markets in the US.
Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) (ACB) has taken a different approach to the US cannabis industry and acquired a cannabidiol (CBD) brand in 2020. Although we are not familiar with the CBD brand it acquired, Aurora Cannabis has been able to raise cash to execute on the US industry as soon as legislation permits.
Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) (APHA) has taken a strategic approach to the US market and acquired craft brewer SweetWater Brewing Company in late 2020. After this development, the company announced a merger with Tilray (TLRY) which also has leverage to the US market through the ownership of Manitoba Harvest. We believe the combined company has the resources and expertise that is needed to capitalize on the US cannabis industry as soon as legislation permits.