Canopy CEO sees 'many tens of billion dollar opportunity' in US for his Canadian pot company

  • The marijuana market will be a "many tens of billion dollar opportunity" in the U.S. if and when it becomes legal, Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton says.
  • He says Canopy can now "operate with a federally controlled program" and not jeopardize relations with Bank of America now that the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived cannabidiol.

Canadian marijuana producer Canopy Growth has a chance to make billions in America if the crop becomes legal federally, CEO Bruce Linton told CNBC.

"On a global basis, you'll see THC is an active ingredient in probably 85 - 90 percent of our total global revenues" not including the U.S., he said Thursday on "Fast Money." If tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is legalized in the U.S., "it's a many tens of billion dollar opportunity and it's going to be coming down to great products with great brands."

Canopy wants to introduce THC products to the U.S. market that could compete with alcohol and opioids, but only a non-psychoactive cannabis compound known as cannabidiol (CBD) has been authorized by the federal government. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the manufacturing, distribution and selling of hemp-derived CBD.

While pot companies wait on the sidelines as more and more states legalize marijuana within their own boundaries, Linton said clearing CBD is a "great first step" because CBD research can yield results helpful for THC. The federal Food and Drug Administration will be "very active and useful" in providing perspective on many claims about the chemical.

"It's a big deal ... [because] we can actually operate with a federally controlled program, which means we don't jeopardize say working with Bank of America, all the things that we've been able to enjoy by being on the New York Stock Exchange," Linton said.

Shares of Canopy are up 94 percent this year, recovering from losses in November.