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Trimming buds off of marijuana plant. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The cannabis market is quickly maturing, and as it gets legal footing nationally in Canada, many of the bigger players are starting to take bigger chunks of the market through mergers and acquisitions.

"The cannabis market is ripe for significant consolidation, and the pickup we have experienced recently is likely only the beginning."
— Cannabis industry investor and analyst Alan Brochstein writes in Fortune.

Details: Consumer spending on legal cannabis is expected to rise to $16.9 billion this year after reaching an estimated $12.2 billion in 2018, according to a report from industry proponents Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics.

  • The market saw large tie-ups last year with Constellation Brands’ $4 billion investment in Canopy Growth and Altria's $1.8 billion buy-in of a 45% stake in Cronos.

Last week, Cresco Labs announced it would acquire CannaRoyalty, "the largest acquisition of a public company operating in the American cannabis industry to date," Brochstein wrote.

  • "We should expect to see more transactions. ... The reasons they are consolidating is to gain scale in their operations as well as to lower their cost of capital. Additionally, the expanded presence helps them to extend and leverage their branding."
  • "While many of these companies will likely fade away over time as they are unable to compete and ultimately to justify their valuations, it is likely that we will see continued consolidation."

Watch this space: The most recent U.S. Farm Bill also is driving much of the industry's growth as American companies can now sell and market hemp products.

Go deeper

Job gains slow sharply as U.S. adds 210k jobs in November

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate plummeted to 4.2% from 4.6%.

Why it matters: Job gains slowed sharply, but the labor market recovery remains on track.

Elon Musk's mega-billion bounty

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Here's how insanely rich Elon Musk is: He has unloaded $10 billion of his stock in the past month — and could do that 15+ more times given his silos of shares.

Ina Fried, author of Login
4 hours ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Huawei sanctions snarled chip supply chains

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The largely successful U.S. effort to hobble China's Huawei has benefitted a host of other tech companies — from smartphone makers such as Apple and Xiaomi to chipmakers like Qualcomm to network vendors including Nokia and Ericsson.

Yes, but: The massive disruption to the industry furthered an industry wide mismatch between supply and demand, exacerbating the global chip shortage.