Shares of Vape Distributor Greenlane Priced at $17 in IPO

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April 17, 2019

Greenlane Holdings, which sells vaporizers and other cannabis accessories, priced shares at $17 Wednesday evening in advance of an expected public market debut Thursday. When it begins trading, Greenlane will rank among the first U.S. companies operating in the cannabis industry to list on a major American exchange.

Greenlane applied to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker GNLN. The company had originally expected its shares to trade at $14 to $16 per share. The company will offer 5.3 million shares, and selling stockholders will offer and additional 750,000. Cowen and Canaccord Genuity will underwrite the transaction.

Though a number of cannabis companies already trade on the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange, they only do business in Canada. Greenlane, a distributor of other companies' products to retail outlets and the operator of several prominent direct-to-consumer e-commerce sites, 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. Greenlane said a significant portion of those sales came from a select few suppliers ー about 16 percent of net sales in 2018 came from Pax products, and 37 percent from Juul, the vape company Pax spun off in 2017. Greenlane said it sells to 6,600 businesses, including smoke shops and chain retail stores.

Greenlane's listing is generating excitement among potential investors because it's the closest many of them can get, MarketWatch reported, to investing in a U.S. cannabis company on a U.S. exchange. Plant-touching companies, like California-based MedMen for example, are forbidden from listing 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.

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.

The challenges facing the three sectors are all different. Cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, and intensively regulated in states where it is legal. E-cigarettes, while legal, are subject to increasingly strict regulation on sales and marketing from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb pushed for new regulations on vape products to curb what the agency described as "epidemic" levels of teen vaping. Hemp, also legal, is unregulated, and the FDA scheduled the first public hearing on CBD, a compound derived from hemp and cannabis, for next month, which could prove decisive for companies using CBD in their consumer products.