Entrepreneurial weed-heads will be excited to know that marijuana is now a publicly traded commodity on the United States Stock Exchange. After gaining approval from the Securities Exchange Commission, Canadian company Cronos Group is now listed on the NASDAQ, making itself the first company to sell shares of the highly lucrative cannabis industry on American soil.
Fittingly, shares of the company are being traded under the symbol 'CRON,' you know, like how weed is often referenced in your college dorm, or at a Willie Nelson concert.
Even though 29 states have lifted bans on medical marijuana and nine states allow for its recreational use, it still remains illegal at the federal level. Until now, American investors haven't been prohibited from buying shares in Cronos Group on the Toronto Stock Exchange, although they've expressed unease with it. In a Vice News report, Cronos Group CEO Mike Gorenstein explains that despite the uncertainty, the majority of the company's shareholders are based in the US:
“I grew up in the US and most of our investor base is in the US, but I still get calls from American investors who are unsure as to whether they can buy Canadian weed stocks,” he said.
Previously, the only way for Americans to buy shares of Canadian weed companies was through the exchange-traded fund (ETF) industry, specifically ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF, which trades on the Chicago-based NYSEArca. That convoluted process is somewhat less so now, thanks to Cronos Group's introduction to the NASDAQ, enabling investors to freely partake in what's estimated to become a $50 billion recreational marijuana business in America by 2026, according to the investment bank Cowen & Co.
Although capitalists are throwing their full weight behind weed, stoners needn't hope a VC-funded dreamworld for weed enthusiasts taking shape anytime soon. Gorenstein told Vice that the company isn't planning on entering the US "from a production or sales standpoint until cannabis is federally legal."
After all, that scenario might take a while to actually pan out, as the legality is murky enough to make anyone's head spin, regardless of how much weed you may or may not smoke.