Canada is in a good position to corner the marijuana market as the industry up north continues to develop in the wake of recreational legalization. And that makes US businesses worried.
"The concern for some of the players is the market will be dominated by Canadian companies, shareholders and banks if we allow too much time to pass," cannabis exec Derek Peterson told Huffington Post. "If we don't see something happen in 2019, almost all of us will be takeout targets for Canadian players."
Peterson is the CEO of the California-based cannabis producer Terra Tech. And when he looks at the quickly developing Canadian cannabis industry, he sees how much easier it is for those companies to grow.
"They who have capital get to soak up market share," Peterson said, adding that Canadian companies are "capitalizing themselves extremely well and doing arms-length investments in US markets, locking down branding opportunities and buying players."
Meanwhile, many insiders in the Canadian cannabis sector are seizing this opportunity to pull ahead of US markets, which doesn't happen too often.
"When was the last time Canada got to lead the creation of a new industry worldwide?" said Cam Battley, Chief Corporate Officer at the Edmonton-based cannabis producer Aurora Cannabis.
Battley credits the Canadian government's creation of a competitive medical marijuana industry back in 2001 for laying the groundwork for the industry we have today. His company has been growing fiercely over the past year, becoming one of the largest cannabis companies worldwide and has expanded into 18 countries.
"I would say the world trusts Canada to be the leader on this," said Battley. "We're not known for being wild and crazy. We're known for being very good at public policy."
However, some economists and financial experts like Mark Whitmore - Vice-Chair of Deloitte Private - don't think people should write off the US industry just yet.
"I would never bet against the US in terms of their ability to catch up," said Whitman. He adds that the now legal market of California "is as large a market on its own as Canada. It's always had an innovative and progressive economy."
Still, until big changes come on a US federal level, it looks like Canada will be leading this race for a while yet.