A Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company that has been tapped by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to cultivate cannabis for scientific research could soon make history by becoming the first American cannabis company to trade its shares on Nasdaq. Bright Green Corp. recently filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to trade its shares under the moniker BGXX on the Nasdaq market. The Florida company noted in its SEC filing that the DEA had granted it “conditional approval” to produce cannabis for research purposes.
Once the cannabis company receives regulatory approval, investment advisor EF Hutton will calculate its initial share price for the market. Bright Green Corp. began building a massive $300 million cannabis cultivation and manufacturing plant in rural New Mexico after receiving a memorandum of agreement (MOA) from the DEA.
A public statement released at the time by New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham said that the facility would bring around 200 research and agricultural jobs, and 170 construction jobs to New Mexico. Bright Green’s majority owner Lynn Stockwell said at the time that the project would place her company and the state of New Mexico at the forefront of cannabis research.
Thanks to federal prohibition, research into the potential benefits and risks of cannabis have been virtually impossible for decades. But now that dozens of states have legalized medical and recreational cannabis and millions of Americans are using the controversial plant, the need for cannabis research has increased exponentially.
Prohibition has also made it impossible for American companies that deal with cannabis from registering their shares and trade on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ even though Canadian companies such as Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth can trade on major U.S. exchanges. Village Farms International, which produces cannabis in Florida, trades shares on NASDAQ through its British Columbia-based subsidiary Pure Sunfarms.
Alongside Bright Green Corp., nearly 30 private companies in California, Arizona and Pennsylvania have applied for an MOA from the DEA. The federal agency has not revealed the number of MOAs it will ultimately issue.
Bright Green has taken special care to differentiate itself from state-legal cannabis businesses, which are considered illegal by federal law. The company noted in its SEC filing that while state legal companies are only legal under state law and sell cannabis directly to consumers, Bright Green has the green light from federal authorities to exclusively cultivate cannabis for “research and manufacturing purposes.”
As many more U.S.-based cannabis companies get the nod from the DEA and list on major exchanges, momentum could soon build to change federal law and allow state-legal entities such as Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (CSE: RWB) (OTCQX: RWBYF) to access capital through the domestic stock exchanges.
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