This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.
As the rules and regulations around marijuana begin to loosen, with improving sentiment on the recreational usage on the once highly guarded drug, more businesses are starting to dabble and expand the cannabis industry, and investors can also access the growth opportunity through related exchange traded fund strategies.
Corporate America is eyeing the cannabis trade. For example, Marlboro cigarette maker Altria announced a $1.8 billion investment into a grower after Corona brewer Constellation Brands invested almost $4 billion into nascent industry, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Wall Street’s very, very interested,” Tim Taggart, president of American Growth Fund, told the WSJ.
However, Taggart warned that there is still a lingering stigma as financial institutions remain extremely wary of regulators.
The rapid growth spurt in the cannabis trade was bolstered by Canada's decision to legalize marijuana in October. The move sparked a light under venture-capital investments and deals, and by the end of 2018, eight cannabis companies were listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and 37 on the junior TSX Venture Exchange.
Meanwhile, developments in the U.S. remain more convoluted. While some states have legalized marijuana, helping mom-and-pop shops crop up around the U.S., the federal government still holds marijuana as a "schedule 1" drug, or the same category as heroin. Consequently, handling any finances associated with marijuana is considered abetting.
While the big institutional money has been slow in getting through financial regulations to invest in the space, retail investors are already stepping up. Some have turned to cannabis-related ETFs such as the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ) , first U.S.-listed ETF to target the cannabis and marijuana industry, and AdvisorShares Vice ETF (ACT) , which includes a smaller tilt toward the industry.
The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF includes a hefty tilt toward Canadian companies, along with a smaller position in U.S. companies.
While not solely targeting the cannabis industry, the AdvisorShares Vice ETF includes companies that derive at least 50% of their net revenue from the marijuana and hemp industry or have at least 50% of their company assets dedicated to lawful research and development of cannabis or cannabinoid-related products.
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