The Republicans won the presidency, but marijuana may have been an even bigger winner on election day.
Voters in Massachusetts, California, Maine and Nevada approved ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. Twenty-eight states have approved medical marijuana. These states account for more than half the nation's population.
To be sure, the drug remains banned at the federal level, and advocates of marijuana normalization are wary of President-elect Donald Trump's choice for U.S. attorney general, the extremely conservative U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.). If confirmed, Sessions may prove a roadblock for the marijuana industry. A vocal opponent of marijuana legalization, Sessions once said he thought the Ku Klux Klan "was OK until I found out they smoked pot." (Sessions' views on civil rights have also come under scrutiny.)
Nonetheless, as marijuana gets legalized in an increasing number of states, the profitable tailwinds for so-called "canna-business" should hold sway -- even with Sessions in office.
The time is ripe to invest in marijuana stocks, before the pot industry matures and the stocks of its major players get too expensive. One marijuana stock stands out from the pack: GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) . This company is a major beneficiary of today's "green rush" and enjoys the wherewithal to prosper over the long haul. The company's shares rose more than 2% in Monday trading.
As marijuana evolves from a countercultural act of rebellion to mainstream capitalism, a wide variety of entrepreneurs are seizing the opportunity, not only by growing and selling pot but by creating branded edibles, tourist junkets, vaping parlors, paraphernalia, shops, seeds, fertilizers, cook books and trade shows.
However, most of these companies are small, thinly capitalized and highly risky. They're starting with great fanfare but will soon fail amid the inevitable shake out and consolidation of a young industry.