Greenlane's Nasdaq Debut a Testament to Opportunity in Cannabis, CEO Says

April 18, 2019

By Chloe Aiello

Greenlane Holdings shares began trading at $29 on the Nasdaq for its public debut on Thursday. Shares opened about 70 percent higher than the IPO price of $17, before settling down to trade last around $23.50 a piece.

The company offered a total of 6 million shares, with 750,000 of them coming from selling stockholders. Cowen and Canaccord Genuity underwrote the transaction.

Greenlane ($GNLN) CEO and co-founder Aaron LoCascio told Cheddar the company's strong start speaks as much to the quality of the company's team and platform, as it does to "the overall opportunity of the industry."

"One of the things that makes Greenlane very unique is the incredible fragmentation that exists in the marketplace. We've been able to garner ourselves a leadership position in having the largest distribution footprint," LoCascio said. "So it's just incredibly fragmented very difficult channel to service and it's something we're very proud of that we've built."

Greenlane distributes vaporizers, rolling papers, child-proof packaging, and other cannabis accessories to an estimated 6,600 business customers, which include just under 10,000 smoke shops and chain retail stores. It also operates several prominent direct-to-consumer e-commerce sites. The listing generated excitement among investors because it's among the first companies operating in the U.S. cannabis industry to go public on a major U.S. exchange. Plant-touching companies, like California-based MedMen for example, are forbidden from operating in the U.S. because of federal laws prohibiting cannabis. But Greenlane's ancillary ー or hands-off-the-plant ー model means it's totally legit. And although there are a number of cannabis companies already trade on the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange, they do business in Canada, whereas Greenlane primarily operates in the U.S.

In its prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Greenlane reported net sales of $178.9 million in 2018, more than double the $88.3 million it reported the year before.

LoCascio attributed the surge in revenue to surge in popularity of Juul ー one of Greenlane's biggest suppliers.

"A lot of the growth last year was from Juul. Great product, great success, incredible management team, very pleased to have partnered with them. But beyond that our brands and our overall segments across our business are also continuing to grow very strong, but predominantly last year Juul was the home-run success," he said.

In 2018, about 37 percent of Greenlane's net sales came from Juul products, and 16 percent from Pax, the cannabis vape company that spun Juul off in 2017.

Greenlane is positioned to take advantage of e-cigarette, hemp, and cannabis markets ー lucrative areas with plenty of their own regulatory hurdles. Well Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog estimated the e-cigarette and vape industry generated $6.6 billion in revenue globally in 2018, CNBC reported. The hemp and CBD markets, after passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, are projected to reach about $22 billion by 2022, according to the Brightfield Group. Additionally, spending in global cannabis is projected to reach $31.3 billion by 2022, according to a report by Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics.