Weedstocks Remain Grounded Despite Plethora of Macro Catalysts

Benjamin A. Smith
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If there was ever a week when Canadian and U.S. weedstocks should have broken its moribund streak, this was it. Flanked by several macro catalysts and deeply oversold conditions, the sector has failed to ignite. Investors will be hoping this lack of drive isn’t signaling foreboding times dead-ahead.

Just this week, at least seven positive catalysts have transpired—all failing to move the needle. A truncated summary can gleaned from the tweet below:

This list doesn’t even include yesterday’s tentative Farm Bill agreement, which is expected to turbocharge the CBD extraction market. While cannabidiol wellness products players such as Charlotte’s Web Holdings soared following the news, CWEB gave back the majority of those gains today (↓7.20%). The giveback is typical of bear market conditions, where the half-life of fantastic news is measured in minutes rather than days.

Furthermore, a seventh prominent catalyst emerged this afternoon: Luxembourg committed to legalizing the use of recreational cannabis. During a press conference held by the three coalition parties, political leadership confirmed the drug will be permitted shortly. Luxembourg will become the first European Union country to outright legalize cannabis use for recreational purposes. While the plant is widely available for recreational consumption in the Netherlands, it has only been de-criminalized at this juncture.

Although Luxembourg is hardly a material population center, it is a prominent investment one. The country is by far the richest in E.U., with an annualized GDP $35,000 higher than the nearest bloc nation. With wealth comes influence, so Luxembourg’s decision to engage may be more impactful than first meets the eye.

While an argument can be made that none of these catalysts are accretive to anyone’s balance sheets for the foreseeable future, that would wholly miss the point. In previously times, similar unitary events would provide the impetus for a fierce sector rally. In this environment, the market yawned while seven separate ones passed through—apparently unnoticed.

Particular disheartening is the cannabis sector’s inability to track proportionally along with the broad market rebound. While NASDAQ is enjoyed a ↑4.82% rise in the week’s first four sessions, the U.S. Marijuana Index and Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF have languished, down ↓1.44% and ↓3.26%, respectively. Risk assets—to which cannabis stocks correlations remain tethered—have also participated in the low volume market melt-up. Clearly, the cannabis sector is being singled out.

What comes next in the immediate future is unclear. Both Canopy Growth Corp. and HMMJ are printing high-low patterns on the hourly, but nothing has challenged the predominant bear trend dominating action since November 9th. Most Tier-1/2 Canadian cannabis names are below the 200-Day moving average, grading zero on a FOMO scale between 0-100. Volumes are the lowest they’ve been since before the Constellation Brand-Canopy deal announced on August 15th, although broad markets are exhibiting similar lackluster activity. U.S. weedstocks have done proportionally better, but that road is littered with its fair share of bodies.

Thus, we await Mr. Market’s next move. In the interim, we hope the Canadian and U.S. weedstocks can hold serve should risk assets take a breather. But one wonders what it will take to put a pulse back into the bid, after the best macro catalyst week in ages failed to inspire.

Benjamin A. Smith

Benjamin A. Smith

Ben is a research analyst and capital markets professional with nearly 20 years of experience. His areas of expertise are broad-based, and include extensive knowledge of macro economics, stock/derivative trading, commodity complexes, cryptocurrencies and technical/quant analysis. He also maintains an particular affinity for U.S. politics and the macro-regulatory environment facing...
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