[Editor’s Note: Canada is a leader in the civilized world. The way Canada handled the sale of the very hot POT stock ticker symbol proves it.]
Weekend Unlimited, a small cannabis startup in Vancouver, has a very special trading symbol.
It can be hard to say exactly why anyone buys stock in any particular company. Maybe they know something you don’t. Maybe they truly believe in the company. Maybe it’s because John Boehner, who is now selling stock tips, told them so.
Or maybe it’s because they like the look of the stock ticker because they know when going to look for marijuana stocks, a very hot item for retail investors, you should absolutely buy the one that says POT?
This appears to be at least part of the rationale behind the recent mad scramble by 40 Canadian companies all vying for that particular stock symbol on the Canadian Stock Exchange. The process was a literal lottery won by Weekend Unlimited, a small Vancouver-based firm whose stock prices — POT stock — soared 150 percent upon news of its big win.
“Congruent” stock listings (that is, a symbol that has something to do with what the company does) are already a thing in the weed world. The symbol WEED on the Toronto Stock Exchange, for example, is held by one Canopy Growth Corporation, the unicorn and the darling of the publicly traded marijuana world.
But for all the many interesting, stupid and offensive slang terms for cannabis, there are only so many brief enough to fit within four characters. As Quartz and other outlets pointed out, until last year, if you were investing in POT, you were investing in potash (which are mined salts rich in potassium, since you asked). But then that company merged with another and the symbol became available. Then Canada legalized retail recreational marijuana sales, publicly traded marijuana companies became insanely valuable and acquisition targets for alcohol and tobacco giants, and well, here we are.
Rather than auction off POT to whoever could pay the most, Canadian market regulators decided on a lottery. On Feb. 1, the CSE announced that Weekend Unlimited, a self-described “aggregator” of brands for the Canadian marijuana market that previously traded under the dated ticker YOLO, was the big winner.
What does Weekend Unlimited do, and should you buy some stock? Only you can answer the second question, but we can help with the first. According to a statement from October, before shares in YOLO went on sale, it is also a “arms-length company which holds interests in various cannabis-related companies.” Some of the companies in which Weekend Unlimited has a stake are “Washington State, Orchard Heights Growers, British Columbia, Northern Lights Organics… and Jerome Baker Designs.” Do you know these companies? Could you identify Jerome Baker as a glass-maker with some High Times Cup victories, Northern Lights as a dedicated CBD brand? If so, then you are better equipped to say what POT is and what POT can do for your portfolio.
POT does have some other things going for it, aside from the name. On Tuesday, company officials announced that Northern Lights had secured a license for a retail facility near the Edmonton airport. One thing’s for sure: the market is a lot hotter for cannabis that it is for potash.