NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- For investors who want to put the cannabis industry into their portfolios, one investment firm is holding the first ever cannabis investment seminar. Scott Greiper, president of Viridian Capital, which is hosting the seminar Thursday at New York City's Javits Center, said there's tremendous upside in the space, but retail investors still need to be careful.
"Do a little bit more diligence than you might on other sectors," he said. "There are risks that are very specific to this industry." Medical marijuana is legal in just 23 states. Recreational usage is legal in four states, plus Washington, D.C.
For investors who are wary about investing in the cannabis space, there are opportunities in companies that are indirectly related to cannabis.
For example, Greiper recommends the lighting sector as a good way to capitalize on the cannabis business -- companies whose products are used to help the marijuana plant grow.
"A company we like in the sector is called Heliospectra (HLSPY)," Greiper said, noting that the company is a client of his firm. "They've developed a patented technology that can read how the plant absorbs different spectra of the light so they can actually control the rate of growth."
He also sees opportunities in the biotech arena.
"'In the marijuana space, biotech is very significant," he said, suggesting biotech today is where pharmaceuticals were 30 years ago. "CannapharmaRx (CPMD), another one of our clients, is a company we think is developing a very interesting positioning in the industry."