US hemp grower Sweet Earth is looking for pre-IPO funding in Australia
Hemp is the weed of choice in North America right now and an Oregon grower is pitching its green stuff to Australian investors.
Sweet Earth grows hemp in the ‘Napa Valley’ of cannabis, Applegate in Oregon, and is looking for $C2.5 million in pre-IPO funding to set up in California.
The catch for cannabis-hungry Aussie investors is they’re only talking to sophisticated spenders and once they list it’ll be on the Canada Stock Exchange (CSE).
It’s market that already has 97 cannabis listings compared to Australia’s 27.
Niv Dagan, a director at Peak Asset Management which is spruiking the company, says they can get higher valuations in Canada for pot stocks and the ASX looks askance at US cannabis companies, because it’s still federally illegal.
But he says the demand from Australian institutions and professional investors for cannabis investments is hot, hence why they’re coming home to offering the pre-IPO.
Sweet Earth started planting hemp in Oregon in July. It plans to start building a drinks bottling plant in February next year and finish an oil extraction plant by April.
It plans to sell hemp seeds, oils and drinks via an Oregon and California dispensary network.
Hemp so hot right now
US hemp is hot right now because the country’s 2018 Farm Bill contains clauses that will federally legalise industrial hemp farming, and therefore also hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).
Once it’s legalised, major corporations have indicated they’re keen to use it in health foods and drinks, and that has put a rocket under the sector.
Cannabis and hemp contain CBD and THC — the latter will get you high — but hemp contains negligible levels of THC making it much more acceptable to regulators
The Farm Bill has been held up due to non-hemp related issues, and supporters expect those clauses to go through unchanged once it is signed off by President Donald Trump.
Major corporations like Corona maker Constellation Brands say they are keen to start using CBD in their products once it’s legal, while Coca-Cola is considering a CBD wellness drink.
Australian investors do have access to the US hemp sector via one company, Elixinol Global (ASX:EXL), which thanks to those operations have made it the only profitable pot stock on the ASX.
Elixinol CEO Paul Benhaim told Stockhead they’re fielding “ongoing and increased interest” from businesses in the US for their hemp products.