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Former president of NYSE advises investors to steer clear of Tilray (for now, at least)

Farley thinks it's a risky move for investors, until an increased number of cannabis companies start trading on top U.S. exchanges

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Have you been paying attention to the cannabis news lately? If so, you will know that Tilray has emerged as one of the highest valued cannabis companies in the industry.

The Canadian medical cannabis supplier might seem like a worthwhile investment but, according to former NYSE President Tom Farley, now is not the time to be investing in Tilray’s cannabis stocks.

“Your viewers should not trade Tilray if they are concerned about losing all their money. If they have some leftover money in their budget … go ahead, but this is not an investment at this point, it’s a mania,” Farley explained during an appearance on “Power Lunch.”

Since going public in July, Tilray has been on a rollercoaster ride. The pharmaceutical company crept up 14 percent last Thursday, before slipping into the negative spectrum. On Wednesday, Tillray experienced it’s most successful trading day since its public listing when it concluded its day up 38 percent.  

It’s not surprising why. The day before its 38 percent gain, the sophisticated cannabis producer announced that its efforts to export a cannabinoid-based drug from Canada to the U.S. for a clinics trial had been awarded by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Nonetheless, Farley does not recommend investing in Tilray quite yet.

Tilray’s cannabis stocks might not be so volatile if more cannabis stocks were listed in the U.S.

Also a CNBC contributor, Farley believes that Tilray’s stocks wouldn’t be so turbulent if more cannabis stocks were trading on public stock exchanges.  

“It’s actually really unfortunate – one of the reasons why Tilray and Canopy are trading so crazy is they’re the only two stocks listed here in the U.S. Some investors are restricted by their charter to only invest and trade U.S. stocks. I wish there were more marijuana stocks listed in the U.S.,” said Farley.

Canopy Growth Corp began trading on the NYSE earlier this year. Before his four-year stint as NYSE president, Farley claims to have backed the idea of giving more cannabis companies the green light to trade on the NYSE.

However, he says he was forced to reassess the situation when cannabis opponent U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions assumed his position in-office and shared his distaste for legal weed with the world.

“I was very high on that idea, and when Attorney General [Eric] Holder was in office, I was willing at the NYSE to approve those marijuana-based stocks,” Farley explained. “The one that I said yes to, when I was there at the NYSE, was Canopy, because all of their operations are in Canada, so they don’t violate a federal law here in the United States.”

Cannabis companies must be compliant and legal to list on the NYSE

Compliance is key for any cannabis company with a desire to publicly trade on the NYSE. Although Canopy and Tilray are operating legally in Canada, they could face criticism from the NASDAQ or NYSE if they start doing business in the U.S.

“The Nasdaq would have a tough conversation with [Tilray], or the NYSE would have a tough conversation with Canopy,” Farley says. “In Canada, they have a whole lot of marijuana stocks that are listed there that wish they could be listed in America, and I wish they could be listed here in America.”

Farley advises investors to sidestep Tilray’s cannabis stocks for the time being. He thinks it’s a risky move for investors until an increased number of cannabis companies start trading on top U.S. exchanges, at least.

Analyst says Tilray’s cannabis stocks are a “bad close”

Cornerstone Macro technical Carter Worth, spoke to “Fast Money” about Tilray. He told them that the Canadian cannabis company’s volatility is an indication that Tilray’s cannabis stocks have already hit their peak.

“The high of today, does that stand for a long time? It’s my hunch that it does,” he said. “Pot stocks in general, it’s a long run. We have talked about that, this is just the beginning. But this particular stock on this particular day has all the indications of a key reversal, a bad close.”

Last month, the producer of medical cannabis hit a record intraday high of $300. Shortly after, trading slipped 15.7 percent to $180.46 per share. Notwithstanding, the cannabis stock has experienced gains of over 680 percent since it initially began trading in July.

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