Are Marijuana Stocks Shady?
--Update 5:00 p.m.
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) All eyes are on the rapidly burgeoning cannabis industry , and with medicinal marijuana sales approved in 20 states (plus Washington, D.C.) and recreational use green-lighted in Colorado and Washington state, investors have the munchies for the best weed stocks . Call it spliff dividends .
But watching this slow burn quicken has traders trying to filter the duds from the good stuff without impaired judgment. There are fickle "Wolf of Weed Street" penny stocks out there and even two mj stocks traded on the Nasdaq, GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) and Full Circle Capital Corporation (FULL).
People are searching for pen baggers to see their holdings get high. The take-off can be loftily kite-like: GWPH is up 517.05% since May 3, 2013 for instance. In terms of intraday trading, Hemp Inc. (HEMP) has almost doubled Monday to 0.158. And search $FULL on Twitter or dig into a day-trader chatroom, and you will find clamoring excitement expressed over the ticker.
CheapStocks.us (@CheapStocksUs) February 3, 2014
He started investigating marijuana stocks last February and was shocked by his findings.
"I was blown away by the valuations," he said. "I felt like the guy who comes from Mars and lands on Earth."
But what a difference a year makes; that alienation has morphed into a recognition of the sector's upside potential.
On a recent trip to Colorado, he saw that eighth-ounce bags of marijuana that two weeks ago sold for $20 now sell for up to $65. The demand is there.
Still, the industry is a Wild West of sorts, a young industry.
"One person says, 'I've only been in the industry for two years' and another says, 'I've been in for four years'that's like being in the Vietnam War," Brochstein said. "Four years is an eternity."
When Dr. Sanjay Gupta came out in support of medical marijuana this summer, the sector got a huge boost, according to Medbox (MDBX) CEO Bruce Bedrick.
The legislative support and rallying cries around the legalization and decriminalization of the herb will allow for added sales.
"We need to move forward in our society," Bedrick said. "[Sick people] feel hopeless, and this gives them the way to express their voice in democracy."
A former holistic chiropractor, Bedrick, 45, got into the marijuana business after seeing his patients at the Anti-Aging and Wellness Center in Scottsdale, Ariz. suffer from chronic and degenerative disease.
Medbox has a patented system to dispense marijuana medication in a vending style and also offers consulting services, but Bedrick's partner, Vincent Mehdizadeh has plead no contest to several criminal charges such as breaking and entering, solicitation of a prostitute, trespassing and credit card fraud.