Ladies and gentlemen, the green rush is real. Weed, pot, marijuana, or – as it’s actually called – cannabis sativa, whatever you want to call the plant, there’s no doubt that it’s been a big part of many cultures on the planet for thousands of years. Cannabis contains a naturally occurring chemical compound named tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that can induce physical and psychoactive effects for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Since the 1930s, cannabis production and consumption has been driven underground by the federal government of the United States, who spearheaded a global movement to ban the naturally growing plant. Despite its illegal status, it’s still widely consumed all across the world through inhalation (via smoking or vaporizing) or oral consumption (isolated into pills or cooked into food). A 2004 UN study estimates that 4% of the adult population on earth (162 million people) used cannabis annually and 0.6% used cannabis daily (22.5 million people).
In 2012, Colorado and Washington simultaneously passed bills to legalize the production and consumption of cannabis for adults aged 21 and over. This social and economic experiment came into effect on January 1st, 2014, when various dispensaries and shops opened up to begin selling to the general public. Since the cannabis industry hasn’t operated legally in nearly a century, many people and organizations have been eagerly anticipating and watching the unfolding results.
The investment community has been particularly interested in the results of legalization in Colorado and Washington. The legalization of cannabis is increasingly popular among the population year-after-year, and it appears to be the direction that we as a society are headed in. Naturally, when legalization happens on a federal level, there is going to be a huge cash crop – no pun intended – that will open for those bold enough to foray into the uncharted territory. In fact, people are so certain that cannabis is headed towards full legalization that they’ve already begun creating businesses to service the cannabis industry. Some of these companies are already publicly traded, and have shares that can be bought and sold alongside shares of any other kind of legitimate industry. Here are 10 cannabis stocks that could make quite a splash in 2014, ordered and ranked by market capitalization – the total value of all shares on the market. All figures valid as of April 16th, 2014.
10 FusioPharm -- Market Cap: $8.42 Million
9 AVT -- Market Cap: $30.57 Million
8 Cannabis Science -- Market Cap: $78.7 Million
7 TerraTech -- Market Cap: $99.83 Million
6 mCig -- Market Cap: $140 Million
5 Advanced Cannabis Solutions -- Market Cap: $238.91 Million
4 GrowLife -- Market Cap: $404.66 Million
3 Medbox -- Market Cap: $545.69 Million
2 GW Pharmaceuticals – Market Cap: $663.19 Million
1 CannaVest -- Market Cap: $899.27 Million
The hottest cannabis stock at the moment – one that could realistically approach a billion dollar market cap by the end of 2014 – is a Las Vegas based company named CannaVest that specializes in hemp production. For the most part, CannaVest foregoes working with THC extraction and concentrates on the non-psychoactive hemp components of the cannabis sativa plant. Hemp has a variety of uses in both industrial and personal settings, and is widely regarded as a huge potential cash crop. CannaVest owns a portfolio of companies who all work with hemp based products (such as hemp fibers and CBD oil) to best leverage the potential of this emerging cash crop. Investors have been extremely bullish on CannaVest stock, and if they continue on their current path they’ll be a market leader by the time legislation changes at the federal level.
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