S.o It’s a done deal: after months, if not years, of promise and hope, New York legalized recreational marijuana (this happened with Medical Pot in 2014). Three well-known cannabis companies are already operating in the Empire State – Curaleaf Holdings (OTC: CURLF), Cresco Labs (OTC: CRLBF), and Columbia Care (OTC: CCHWF). Two of the trio are really worth seeing, as New York flips the switch for adults.
In this segment of Motley Fool Live Eric Volkman, a veteran of the fool enrolled on May 21, touches on the two in a discussion with Corinne Cardina, director of the health and cannabis bureau.
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Corinne Cardina: So are there top stocks that already have a medical program footprint in New York and that may have a first mover advantage?
Eric Volkman: Yes there are several. There are a couple of candidates.
We basically consider three companies. You have Curaleaf Holdings, which is a multi-state operator (MSO) that, as the term suggests, operates in a number of states. It’s basically the largest MSO in America. Cresco Labs, an ambitious Illinois company, and then we have Columbia Care, which I consider to be some kind of dark horse. They have to be in the mix, however, because unlike the other two, they’re actually based in New York City. Curaleaf is based in Massachusetts.
Curaleaf and Cresco each have four pharmacies. As you say, at the moment or before this legalization, New York was a pure medical marijuana market. Even now these pharmacies only sell medical products – you cannot buy recreational products there. The first two companies I mentioned, Curaleaf and Cresco, have one leg up because of that.
Of the two, if we are talking about a mere presence in New York, the edge must go to Curaleaf because they have acreage. They have a place from which they can natively support their home [New York] Pharmacies. But a lot can change, and especially if you wait like a year for the switch to flip the actual pot market, other companies can step in, and I’m sure they will.
Like Cresco, for example. They have a pretty hot rivalry with another vertically integrated weed company in Illinois called Green Thumb Industries. You could also have a hungry eye for New York. Right now, Curaleaf and Cresco are probably the two to watch out for if you want to take over a business with a head start.
Columbia Care, I don’t think so much, even though they have four pharmacies in the state like the other two companies. To me, they seem more interested in states outside of New York. Recently they signed a $ 240 million deal for a company called Green Leaf Medical. [So] You’re like a mid-Atlantic company. They are active in Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
I think their focus is elsewhere. I mean, I haven’t heard the company say too much about their ambitions, but it does seem like they’re leaving the New York market.
Ultimately, Curaleaf and Cresco are probably the two at this early stage that I would keep an eye on.
Corinne Cardina has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns and recommends shares in Cresco Labs Inc. and Green Thumb Industries. The motley fool has one Confidentiality Policy.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.