After the November elections proved to be a tipping point for legal weed, the financial impact of cannabis products on the U.S. economy became a subject for researchers, economists and stock watchers across the land.
According to Arcview Market Research’s latest report, national growth in the legal cannabis market is going great, with no signs of slowing down. Sales are surging, demand is strong and by 2020, legal market sales are expected to surpass $22 billion and possibly reach twice that amount.
Analysts at Viridian Capital Advisors, a group of Wall Street analysts and bankers who focus on the money side of weed, maintain a cannabis stock index. For 2016 (through December 9), it’s up 175.3 percent.
And if you think 2016 growth is impressive, it was nothing compared to 2014 where the annual gain was 383.5 percent.
It makes one wonder why some states are so against legal weed, but that’s another story.
What we do know is that someone is raking in a lot of dough.
Here is a list of the 10 largest (by market cap) U.S.-listed companies—nine are biotech/Pharmaceutical companies. Only one of the companies actually “touches the plant.” We’ll let you figure out which one it is.
Worth noting that in Canada, the three largest weed companies are all growers, and they all qualify for a place in the largest marijuana businesses in North America.
The data, provided by Viridian Capital Advisors, is accurate as of December 21, 2016.
1. GW Pharmaceuticals – Leader in cannabinoid-based medicine, specializing in treatment of rare and catastrophic forms of childhood-onset epilepsy. GW recently developed Epidiolex for treating Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), intractable forms of epilepsy.
– Market cap: $2.87 billion
– Year-to-date stock price change: +64%
2. Canopy Growth – Toronto-traded Canopy Growth Corp is a diversified cannabis company that produces and sells legal marijuana in the Canadian medical market.
– Market cap: $780.6 million
– Year-to-date stock price change: +192%
3. Insys Therapeutics – Insys Therapeutics Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that has had two cannabis-based drugs approved by the FDA, the most recent is Syndros, which boosts appetite for cancer and AIDS-related patients suffering from weight loss.
– Market cap: $664.6 million
– Year-to-date stock price change: -68%
4. Aurora Cannabis – Aurora Cannabis Inc. also trades on Toronto’s venture exchange and is another Canadian company focused on growing and selling medical marijuana. It grows both psychoactive THC products and medically oriented CBD products.
– Market cap: $433.8 million
– Year-to-date stock price change: +311%
5. Axim Biotechnologies – Axim Biotechnologies Inc. is a biotech firm developing CBD-based treatments for pain, spasticity, anxiety and other medical disorders. At one time this year, the stock surged up 2,000 percent on high-hopes for Axim’s product pipeline.
– Market cap: $401.6 million
– Year-to-date stock price change: +656%
6. Medical Marijuana – Medical Marijuana Inc. is a development stage company that develops, sells and distributes hemp oil that contains naturally occurring cannabinoids. The company also licenses its proprietary testing, genetics, labeling and packaging methods for the medicinal herb industry.
– Market cap: $380.1 million
– Year-to-date stock price change: +281%
7. Corbus Pharmaceuticals – This is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company currently developing a synthetic oral CBD-mimetic drug called Resunab, which reduces the symptoms of systemic sclerosis, an autoimmune disease in which inflammation from the immune system leads to progressively worse fibrosis.
– Market cap: $375.5 million
– Year-to-date stock price change: +410%
8. Aphria – Aprhia Inc. also trades on Canada’s venture exchange and is another grower and seller of medical weed through retail stores and wholesale distribution. The company recently signed an intellectual property transfer deal with an Arizona MMJ grower.
– Market cap: $373.6 million
– Year-to-date stock price change: +286%
9. Arena Pharmaceuticals – Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a bio-pharma company that developed and distributes a weight-loss drug known as Belviq. Arena makes this list on the strength of a new cannabinoid-based pain treatment.
– Market cap: $340.6 million
– Year-to-date stock price change: -20%
10. Cara Therapeutics – Cara Therapeutics Inc. is a clinical-stage bio-pharma company developing and selling treatments for pain and pruritus (severe itching of the skin). In addition to a pre-clinical cannabinoid candidate, Cara also has a pain treatment in late-stage trials.
– Market cap: $251 million
– Year-to-date stock price change: -43%
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