I believe that two of Tilray’s (NASDAQ:TLRY) potential positive catalysts actually have a good chance of materializing. Nonetheless, TLRY stock is overvalued, as it likely reflects an important misunderstanding, along with optimism about U.S. legalization that’s unlikely to materialize.
As a result, I recommend that investors sell the shares at their current levels.
2 Potential Positive Catalysts Could Materialize
During Tilray’s fourth-quarter earnings call on July 28, Tilray CEO Irwin Simon said that the company could utilize its “strong cash position and balance sheet flexibility,” along with several of its strengths, including its “curated portfolio of diverse medical and adult-use brands … to transform the industry.”
Simon probably won’t be able to transform the cannabis industry. But given the advanced average age of Canada and the EU and the fact that their populations are rapidly aging, I think that medical marijuana could be helpful to TLRY stock and its peers.
With many baby boomers and Generation Xers – some of whom are much more accepting of cannabis than preceding generations – suffering more acute medical issues than in previous years, I would not be surprised if the demand for medical marijuana surges. That scenario is particularly likely to materialize in the EU nations that have legalized medical marijuana while keeping recreational cannabis illegal, as many people who want to try cannabis but do not want to risk arrest in those nations could seek to obtain medical marijuana.
Tilray is sensibly taking several steps to try to exploit increased demand for medical marijuana. For example, last month it began to produce medical cannabis cultivated in Germany for German pharmacies. Simon said that Tilray is on its way to becoming “the first licensed producer to cultivate medical cannabis in Germany.” Recreational cannabis is illegal in the nation, but medical cannabis is permitted.
The company also launched a new medical cannabis brand called Symbios which, according to Simon “was developed to provide a broader spectrum of formats and unique cannabinoid ratios at a better price point” while providing “a full comprehensive assortment of products, including flower, oils and pre-rolls for their health wellness regimen.”
And in the EU, Tilray, which obviously has a presence in the bloc, can benefit from more countries legalizing cannabis. Denmark, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are all considering doing so, and Portugal may also weigh such an initiative soon. While those are all small countries, larger EU nations may legalize the drug in the next few years.
TLRY Stock Reflects Unrealistic Catalysts
Tilray merged with Aphria in May. In a strange maneuver that I’ve never seen before in 14 years of reporting on stocks, the combined company – for the purposes of deriving year-over-year comparisons – seems to have compared its Q2 financial results to the earnings that Aphria reported, on its own, for Q2 of 2020.
Put another way, when Tilray announced last month that its fiscal Q4 net revenue had jumped 27% versus the same period a year earlier and that its cannabis sales had soared 55% from the previous year, it was comparing the combined company’s results last quarter to the results of Aphria on its own in the same period of 2020.
Undoubtedly, many retail investors did not realize that the comparisons were so distorted. Consequently, TLRY stock probably reflects this inaccurate view of the company’s year-over-year growth, inflating the shares’ value.
Moreover, Simon generally sounded optimistic that full legalization of cannabis in the U.S. may happen soon. But, in line with my previous predictions, on July 29, The Los Angeles Times reported that most experts do not expect the Senate to pass a cannabis legalization bill unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in its current form.
Because of filibusters, legalization would need the support of every Senate Democrat and 10 Republicans. As the Times suggested, that will be a tough feat. And as we get closer to the 2022 congressional elections, I think that the chances of legalization passing the Senate will only fall further.
Since the vast majority of strong supporters of legalization will probably vote for Democratic congressional candidates whatever happens with legalization, I don’t think Democratic senators up for reelection in 2022 have much incentive to alienate some swing voters by voting to legalize cannabis. And nearly all Republicans will not be eager to anger conservative voters who strongly oppose legalization.
As long as the filibuster remains intact, I think the only way that legalization will ever pass the Senate is if the Democrats have at least 54 seats and a Democratic president makes legalization a top priority.
Since neither of those conditions is remotely close to being met now, I don’t expect full federal legalization to happen for years, if ever.
The Bottom Line on TLRY Stock
I believe that Tilray is right to focus on the medical marijuana market, particularly in countries that have not yet legalized recreational marijuana. And Tilray could boost its results by entering nations in the EU that legalize the drug.
But I think that TLRY stock currently reflects unrealistic assumptions about its growth and about the chances of U.S. legalization.
On the date of publication, Larry Ramer did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Larry has conducted research and written articles on U.S. stocks for 14 years. He has been employed by The Fly and Israel’s largest business newspaper, Globes. Among his highly successful contrarian picks have been solar stocks, Roku, Plug Power and Snap. You can reach him on StockTwits at @larryramer. Larry began writing columns for InvestorPlace in 2015.