Cronos Group Inc. (TSX-V: MJN) (OTC Nasdaq Int’l Designation: PRMCF) started trading on the Nasdaq Global Market under symbol CRON, which includes the United States, today. Cronos is a Canadian company that handles the marijuana plant which makes the listing particularly remarkable.
When investors now consider trading Amazon or Google, they will also see Cronos Group Inc. available along with all of the other Nasdaq listed companies. The federal illegal status of marijuana may throw some wrenches in the mechanism eventually. For now, the green rush is available to U.S. investors with the additional scrutiny of the SEC. Cronos has been available over-the-counter or through international exchanges such as the TSX.
Cronos Group Inc., which already trades in Canada, will be the first marijuana company on a major U.S. exchange — right alongside Nasdaq stocks such as Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Starbucks Corp.
“It’s very significant for the company and the whole industry,” Mike Gorenstein, Cronos founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview. “It’s a huge moment — just shows the stigma is continuing to erode on cannabis.”
Nasdaq’s approval came after Cronos spent six months doing preparatory work, leading up to an application for listing filed this year. The company had worked with Nasdaq to get approval for an over-the-counter listing last year.
“A lot of U.S. investors still are unsure about the legality: There’s not a lot of awareness about the fact that it’s federally legal in Canada versus the U.S.,” he said. “By listing on Nasdaq, it will open up the opportunities for a lot of U.S. investors that otherwise were unsure — even on the institutional level.”
Cronos was “laser-focused” on making sure it was absolutely ready to conform to the U.S. SEC standards before filing its application to list on Nasdaq. That made the process relatively smooth.
“It was an exercise in checking everything we do and looking in the mirror and asking are there any gaps, because if we’re used as an example for other cannabis companies, we want to make sure that we’re setting the right example,” Gorenstein said.
Being a pioneer for the cannabis industry will bring some real notoriety for Cronos Group Inc. in and of itself. Not only operating in Canada, Cronos also has contracts with Israel, Australia and Germany to export medical marijuana. It has a strong international presence.