Shares of Canadian cannabis producer Tilray Inc. (TLRY.O) soared in the company’s first day of trading on public markets, a sign that investor interest in the frenzied marijuana sector has yet to go up in smoke.

Tilray’s stock was up 22 per cent to US$20.75 in mid-morning trading on the Nasdaq Thursday, giving it a market capitalization of nearly US$2 billion.  

On Wednesday, the company priced its initial public offering above its target range at US$17 per share amid strong demand from institutional investors.

The Nanaimo, B.C.-based company is the first cannabis producer to stage its debut IPO south of the border. Cronos Group Inc. was the first to list on the Nasdaq in February, but it was listed on the TSX Venture Exchange prior to its exposure on the U.S. bourse.

Tilray previously raised $60 million in February under a Series A round of funding aimed at expanding its Canadian and European production capacity as well as marketing its medical cannabis products to several new countries.

The company is controlled by Privateer Holdings Inc., a Seattle-based private equity firm which also owns Leafly, an informational website about cannabis; Marley Natural, a cannabis brand named after reggae singer Bob Marley; and edibles maker Goodship.