How to Invest In Marijuana: Cannabis Stocks Explained

Marijuana is huge service.

The once-shadowy market has actually changed into an extremely commercialized and successful sector, covering biotech and research study business along with cannabis growers and customer merchants.

About 428,059 full-time tasks were supported by the legal marijuana market in January 2022, according to a report by Leafly and Whitney Economics.

By 2030, the U.S. legal cannabis market is anticipated to reach $40 billion, according to a June 2022 report by Grand View Research.

Buying into an emerging market poised for moonshot development suffices to make any financier’s mouth water.

But the marijuana service isn’t like other money crops. It’s still unlawful at the federal level, which can make buying cannabis stocks difficult.

Marijuana financial investments include danger — however is the possible outcome worth it?

In this guide, we’ll check out the various kinds of cannabis business, benefits and drawbacks of buying the market, leading marijuana stocks and more.

Current Marijuana Legislation in the United States

States started legislating medical cannabis more than twenty years back. By August 2022, 37 states plus the District of Columbia now allow the sale of medical weed.

Recreational usage is likewise growing. In 2012, Colorado and Washington ended up being the very first states to legislate leisure cannabis for adult usage. A years later on in 2022, 19 states plus D.C. now allow leisure usage, more broadening the legal marijuana market.

In 2018, the production of hemp and, by extension, CBD oil was legislated at the nationwide level. (The U.S. federal government specifies hemp as any marijuana plant consisting of less than 0.3% of THC, the psychedelic compound that gets users high.)

But the effort to legislate cannabis at the federal level stays stalled.

A present costs in the U.S. Senate called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act would legalize cannabis on the federal level and permit states to set their own marijuana laws without worry of federal prosecution.

Still, current rumblings in Washington D.C. aren’t most likely to lead to complete federal legalization anytime quickly. Most policy professionals concur that cannabis merely isn’t a top priority for the federal government today, requiring numerous marijuana business and retail financiers to stick around in legal limbo.

Types of Marijuana Products and Companies

Cannabis might be growing however there are still just a few lots openly traded business.

Because Canada ended up being the very first G20 nation to legislate leisure weed in 2018, a lot of marijuana stocks are headquartered there. U.S. business that straight manage cannabis are disallowed from noting on U.S. stock market.

Before you buy cannabis, it’s important to comprehend various elements of the market.

First, there are 2 broad classifications of marijuana items.

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana, which is grown and utilized to deal with different medical conditions such as persistent discomfort, is legal in 35 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. It’s likewise legal in more than 30 nations. A client requires a prescription from an authorized healthcare service provider to acquire medical cannabis.

Recreational Marijuana

Eighteen U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, have actually legislated leisure cannabis for grownups. Recreational usage is likewise legal in numerous nations, consisting of Canada, Mexico and South Africa. Because states have actually been slower to embrace leisure cannabis laws, the leisure sector represent a much smaller sized share of income within the legal marijuana market.

Numerous items are made from marijuana plants, consisting of cannabis flower, CBD oils, edibles and hemp, along with focuses utilized in vaping and other products.

The cannabis market supply chain is comprehensive, covering producing to marketing.

4 Main Types of Marijuana Businesses

Marijuana Growers

Cannabis growers cultivate the plant. Some likewise own production centers or develop cannabis-related items, like hemp.


These business own dispensaries where individuals can acquire marijuana items.

Biotech and Research

These pharmaceutical business establish prescription drugs with marijuana components.

Providers of Ancillary Products and Services

These business help with the legal cannabis market with services like circulation, marketing, hydroponic innovations, lighting systems and product packaging.

Because the drug is still federally unlawful, buying U.S. cannabis stocks can be difficult. Buying shares of cannabis-related business is one alternative.

Ancillary companies are noted on U.S. stock market due to the fact that these openly traded business don’t handle the plant itself.

For example, Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR) is a commercial property financial investment trust that focuses on renting residential or commercial property to marijuana growers and other business in the medical cannabis market.

Rewards and Risks of Investing in Marijuana Stocks

The cannabis market is ripe for development — however lots of obstructions stay, particularly for U.S. business and financiers.

Before you delve into the marijuana market, it’s important to comprehend what makes these stocks so amazing — therefore dangerous.


Marijuana is a nascent market. Getting in on the ground flooring is among the greatest possible benefits for cannabis financiers.

By getting in early, you may be able to catch larger-than-average returns as the marijuana market broadens and develops.

Legal marijuana sales are anticipated to top $33 billion by the end of 2022, according to a research study by MJBiz, a leading B2B marijuana business.

With a bulk of Americans in favor of legislating cannabis, market advocates state it’s just a matter of time prior to the U.S. federal government offers weed the thumbs-up.

People wanting to buy marijuana might purchase low-cost shares throughout the existing market lull, and hold their stocks till costs increase.

Some financiers might see this as a prime purchasing chance. Once the federal government legislates weed, institutional financiers are most likely to put cash into the cannabis market and send out marijuana stock costs skyrocketing.

Marijuana stocks aren’t an excellent suitable for conservative financiers who dislike the concept of losing cash. But if you can swallow danger, dedicate time to looking into business and hold these properties for a couple of years, cannabis investing might be an excellent choice for your portfolio.


Investing includes danger. An possession can decline as market conditions alter. This is true for any market — not simply cannabis business.

But pot stocks can be especially unstable.

Yes, weed is still unlawful at the nationwide level, however it’s more than that.

Investing in cannabis stocks is dangerous due to the fact that:

  • The market is still young and quickly altering.
  • There’s less openly readily available research study for possible financiers.
  • Major rate changes and market swings prevail.
  • Would-be financiers need to know frauds and financial investment scams in the market.
  • Some monetary consultants won’t supply financial investment guidance about the very best cannabis stocks to purchase.

Like any budding market, the marijuana market has actually seen its share of bad stars. Companies poised for remarkable development capacity can unexpectedly underperform, get obtained by another business or perhaps declare bankruptcy.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has actually released numerous signals throughout the years concerning cannabis stocks, cautioning customers about unlicensed sellers, unsolicited deals, market adjustment and phony news release suggested to affect share costs.

In short, gambling on unskilled and odd business can ravage your financial investment returns.

Another danger is buying business that exist merely due to the fact that cannabis is still restricted under federal law. Businesses that turned up to resolve an issue —  like alternative banking systems for cannabis dispensaries — might unexpectedly vanish as soon as nationwide legalization takes place.

We’ll go over methods to reduce threats related to marijuana investing when we dig even more into how to buy cannabis.

Best Cannabis Companies to Invest In

Below is a list of the leading cannabis stocks to think about. Our list just consists of business with market caps of a minimum of $200 million with figures existing since August 2022.

Top 10 Marijuana Stocks to Consider

CompanyTypeMarket Capitalization
Canopy Growth Corporation (NASDAQ: CGC​)Grower$1.3 billion
Curaleaf Holdings (OTC: CURLF)Grower and seller$4.7 billion
Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF)Grower and seller$3.2 billion
Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY​)Grower and seller$2.2 billion
Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON)Grower and seller$1.9 billion
Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQ: ACB​)Grower and seller$440 million
Jazz Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: JAZZ​)Biotechnology$9.5 billion
Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE: IIPR​)Ancillary service provider$2.65 billion
GrowGeneration (NASDAQ: GRWG)Ancillary service provider$291.8 million
Sundial Growers NASDAQ: SNDL​Grower$664 million

How to Buy Marijuana Stocks

It’s constantly essential to do your research prior to acquiring private stocks — particularly in the cannabis market.

Follow these actions when buying cannabis stocks:

  1. Assess your financial investment goals, danger tolerance and existing portfolio holdings. Research and due diligence are a must.
  2. Make sure you comprehend the business’s development technique, and inspect its monetary declarations and service partners.
  3. Brush up on current service advancements and market information, consisting of acquisitions, mergers and modifications in business management.

Canadian vs. United States Marijuana Companies

Marijuana’s unlawful status at the federal level makes it harder for U.S. business to get noted on a traditional stock market.

Typically, shares of Canadian business are the most convenient pot stocks to purchase in the U.S. So long as Canadian business don’t offer cannabis in America, they can be noted on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange.

But professionals are combined about the development capacity of Canada’s cannabis market.

In 2018, our next-door neighbors to the north legislated leisure cannabis, stimulating a boom of international financial investment. Stock costs skyrocketed, crashed, skyrocketed and crashed once again.

Canadian cannabis stocks had a harsh year in 2021, with share costs for business like Cronos Group down by double digits. Things haven’t enhanced much in 2022.

Experts state over growth is to blame. In short, the Canadian market burned through excessive cash, grew excessive weed and presented retail dispensaries too gradually.

The outcome: Canadian marijuana business are having a hard time to make a profit, leading some financial investment professionals to recommend the greatest locations of development depend on the U.S. marijuana market.

The United States has a much bigger and more financially rewarding cannabis market than Canada. But American-based marijuana organizations can’t note on U.S. stock market.

This leaves U.S. marijuana business 2 alternatives: Get noted on a Canadian exchange or trade non-prescription.

What Are Over-the-Counter Stocks?

Stocks acquired on non-prescription exchanges are really speculative due to the fact that they aren’t needed to reveal specific monetary info to the general public, making it almost difficult to carry out a real analysis of a stock’s worth.

It’s likewise difficult for the typical financier to even purchase and offer OTC stocks. Many conventional brokerage accounts limit or bar trading cannabis stocks on OTC exchanges.

You might require to utilize an unique brokerage account to acquire shares of U.S. cannabis business, although a couple of popular discount rate brokers bring OTC stocks, consisting of Fidelity and TD Ameritrade. Charles Schwab likewise lets you purchase your own non-prescription shares utilizing the Schwab One brokerage account.

However, beware of trading charges. Some online brokerage companies charge a charge or trading commission on these stocks — even if the financial investment platform provides open markets on other securities.

How to Invest in Marijuana Exchange-Traded Funds

There are 2 main methods to buy cannabis: private stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

ETFs are generally an excellent way to diversify your portfolio due to the fact that they spread your financial investment dollars amongst numerous business simultaneously.

Marijuana ETFs can be less dangerous than buying a specific cannabis stock due to the fact that ETFs diversify you throughout every vertical of the marijuana market, from item conception to usage.

It might likewise be much easier for the typical financier to purchase a cannabis ETF due to the fact that numerous are noted on U.S. exchanges.

Most Popular Marijuana ETFs

  • AdvisorShares Pure U.S. Cannabis ETF (MSOS)
  • AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (YOLO)
  • Global X Cannabis ETF (POTX)
  • The Cannabis ETF (THCX)
  • ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ)
  • Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (CNBS)

Going with an actively handled ETF, like Amplify Seymour Cannabis (CNBS) or AdvisorShares Pure United States Cannabis (MSOS) is most likely your best choice.

Actively handled funds are more responsive to market shake-ups, like mergers, acquisitions and personal bankruptcies. Portfolio supervisors of actively handled ETFs are more active, permitting them to benefit from dips in stock costs and divest from troublesome business.

In contrast, passively handled ETFs, like Horizons United States Marijuana Index (HMUS) and the Cannabis ETF (THCX), are just rebalanced and modified as soon as a quarter. A lot can occur in 3 months, particularly in this market.

If you’re searching for the very best cannabis ETF to purchase, peek under the hood and take a look at the particular stocks a fund owns. Also make certain to take a look at the fund’s current rate motions together with its 1 year and five-year returns.

What to Look for in Cannabis Stocks and Ways to Reduce Risk

The finest cannabis business share a couple of resemblances. Here’s what to search for when selecting marijuana financial investments that can assist you reduce (some) of the market’s naturally dangerous nature.

  • Look at the business’s management groups and executive board. Identify the skilled executives with effective performance history, not over night start-ups with huge guarantees and little capital.
  • Time in the marketplace beats timing the market. Weed stocks are currently exceptionally unstable, so costing the very first rate drop can be pricey. If you purchase into this market, strategy to hold your financial investments for a minimum of a couple of years.
  • Consider the business’s market cap. Businesses with larger caps are most likely to have the monetary stability to make it through over the long run. More recognized business with greater market capitalization are less most likely to fail.
  • Look at a business’s news release and its monetary reports. Financial reports supply insight into a business’s activity and bottom line. It can be difficult for a starting financier to learn these reports, however some crucial procedures to take a look at consist of the business’s earnings and loss (P&L), price-to-book (P/B) ratio, price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio and price/earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio.
  • Explore business with non-marijuana income streams. As the marijuana market grows, reputable business — consisting of Scotts Miracle-Gro (much better understood for yard and garden items) and pharmaceutical business Abbvie Inc. — have actually gone into the area, while still keeping their non-marijuana service lines. These business are generally thought about less dangerous due to the fact that marijuana-related services consist of just a part of their income development.

Rachel Christian is a senior author at The Penny Hoarder.

This post includes basic info and discusses alternatives you might have, however it is not meant to be financial investment guidance or an individual suggestion. We can’t individualize short articles for our readers, so your circumstance might differ from the one gone over here. Please look for a certified expert for tax guidance, legal guidance, monetary preparation guidance or financial investment guidance.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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