On April 20, also known as 4/20, or “Weed Day,” three years ago, recreational marijuana was illegal in all but just two states: Colorado and Washington. If an investor had taken a risky bet then on the nascent—and then largely taboo—industry’s growth and invested indiscriminately in a wide range of marijuana stocks, they would have, well, smoked the stock market.
Investors are more likely to buy marijuana stocks around the unofficial 4/20 holiday, according to data from investing app Robinhood. And those investors who bought 10 U.S. cannabis stocks back in 2014 would have reaped a 32% return on their portfolio—beating the S&P 500’s 25% jump, Trump Bump rally and all, in the same period. Had investors just picked the top-performing weed stock over that period, though, they could have made a return of more than 4200%.
The basket of stocks includes the 10 U.S.-listed companies in the Marijuana International Corporation’s U.S. Marijuana Index that were already publicly traded three years ago. The companies range widely from pharmaceutical companies to e-cigarette makers and agriculture companies. Underscoring the risks of this particular crop of stocks, only one is traded on a major U.S. stock exchange, while the others are so-called penny stocks, available only on the less regulated and more opaque over-the-counter markets.
On the list are GW Pharmaceuticals (gwph) (which is listed on the Nasdaq), Axim Biotechnologies, Cannabics Pharmaceuticals, Terra Tech (trtc), Cannabis Sativa, mCig, United Cannabis, General Cannabis (cann), Surna (srna), and CV Sciences. Of those, the big winner over the last three years was Cannabics Pharmaceuticals, a Maryland-based company developing cancer treatments using derivatives of the cannabis plant. Cannabics’ stock has returned 4260% in that time.
Increasingly, growth-seeking investors have looked toward cannabis stocks as the next big thing in recent years, with industry bulls betting on marijuana’s legalization