According to Irwin Simon, the CEO of the Canadian marijuana company Tilray, legislation in the U.S. is set to happen within the next two years.
“I see over the next 18-to-24 months that cannabis in some format will have legalization,” Simon told Yahoo Finance Live.
He later said, “When legalization does happen, we will be ready… to be a part of it.”
Tilray is listed on both the Nasdaq (TLRY) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TLRY.TO) and currently has around 14% market share in the medical and adult recreational use cannabis market in Canada, Simon noted. The company has an objective to reach 30%.
“We don’t to anything in cannabis today in the U.S.” due to the federal prohibition, Simon said, but Tilray is preparing for the future ability to further enter the American market.
“As we look at what companies are out there,” Simon said, “do we look at having options on them to buy at once the legalization happens? Do we have some type of relationship with them? The answer is Yes, and that will give us the opportunity to be a player in the U.S. once legalization does happen.”
“We have a strong balance sheet,” Simon said. “In regards to legalization happening in the U.S., I think we will be ready to partner when that does happen. But right now, there is very little I can do other than on an option or potentially partner with someone when that does happen.”
“My playbook here is to create the largest cannabis company that’s built around consumer brands,” Simon said. “And those brands will be built around adult use, will be built around medical cannabis, [and] will be built around drinks, edibles, and food.”
Simon has linked the company’s success to the casual way in which they communicate with retail investors.
“It’s almost like how I communicate with my kids every day is the way I communicate with my retail shareholders,” Simon said. “So yes, from a social media [standpoint], I’m out there, trying to talk to them every day. As a meme stock, we’re out there, getting the information out, and from a digital standpoint, getting messages out.”
Simon added that “almost 80% of our shareholder base today is a retail shareholder base, and I love it because they’re sophisticated. They’re educated investors.”