Smiths Falls-based Canopy Growth to have hemp CBD in U.S. as early as Q4

Canopy Growth co-CEO Bruce Linton.

Canopy Growth Corp. expects to have CBD products in the U.S. where permissible as early as the fourth-quarter, but says the related hemp-production facilities it has in the works can easily switch to cannabis if and when it becomes federally legal south of the border.

Co-chief executive Bruce Linton said the licensed cannabis producer is "on track" to have products with hemp-derived CBD, or cannabidiol, south of the border with a timeline of either the fourth-quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2020.

This will require hemp production and processing operations in multiple states, he said on a conference call discussing its latest quarterly results.

"That asset group and the channel we sell through will lend itself extremely well to cannabis," Linton told analysts on Friday.

Since the U.S. farm bill legalized hemp-derived CBD products late last year, Canadian pot companies have been eyeing opportunities south of the border. However, while cannabis is legal in several states, pot remains illegal at the federal level.

Still, the U.S. political climate continues to warm up to cannabis.

A bill that would amend the Controlled Substances Act and effectively make cannabis federally legal in states where recreational consumption is legal is working its way through the legislative process. Also earlier this week, a U.S. House Financial Services subcommittee held a hearing on the proposed SAFE Act, which protects banks that service cannabis companies that comply with state laws.

Canopy, based in Smiths Falls, last month said it received its hemp license from New York State and announced a plan to spend between US$100 million to US$150 million to establish a Hemp Industrial Park there.

Linton also told analysts that any legislation that would allow for state-level cannabis activities to be legal federally, such as the SAFE act, opens the door further to U.S. market.

"There are a bunch of formulations that could result in us being able to immediately enact our plan in any of those states," he said.

Linton's comments on its hemp strategy comes as Canopy reported earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31, during which revenue soared on its first sales of recreational cannabis, but its loss from operations widened.