Cannabis industry M&A has fallen off a cliff as activity in the key North American markets  effectively stalls.

Nine weeks into 2020 and there have been only 14 mergers or acquisitions among North American-listed pot stocks, which include several Australian companies, according to Viridian Capital Partners’ deal tracker.

By this time last year there had been 70.

The capital demands of companies are getting bigger however.

Fewer companies have raised capital in the last five weeks — 57 to 2019’s 93 — but the total amount raised is higher, at $US1.515m to last year’s $US1.477m.

“We are seeing more companies raise capital primarily from existing investors in these companies, evidence that capital availability remains challenging and in challenging times a company often has to turn to existing, vested investors to provide next round capital,” Viridian said in its latest report.

North American industry watchers had been expecting a capital crunch in 2020 as investors began to demand their companies stop shedding cash and start making profits.

In Australia, a similar realisation occurred in late 2018 when investors began to understand the time frames and capital costs pot stocks’ plans entailed.

READ: Weed week — COVID-19 and cannabis don’t mix, although the results aren’t all bad