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Stocks in the News

Whether its eating a gooey, chocolatey brownie or taking a few hits off a freshly rolled joint, it’s common knowledge that a lot of people like to get high. Many investors, however, have yet to “light up.” Some hesitate from adding marijuana stocks to their portfolio on apprehensions that pot companies are involved in scams or that it’s still deemed illegal by the federal government.

Let’s not forget that this market has turned into a staggering money-making potential. Not only is it one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., but it also received a major boost after the 2016 election, where marijuana was declared legal for recreational and medical purposes in seven additional states.

Marijuana sales has the potential to greatly add to government’s treasury as well, and it will be immensely helpful in medical fields. Nowadays, it is also easier for banks for provide services for legal marijuana businesses. Banking on this optimism, we have selected the largest, most stable, and legal cannabis related companies that will rake in high returns for you.

Focus on Legalization

When Americans headed to the polls back on November 8, nine states—Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota—were set to vote on medical and recreational cannabis initiatives. Gallup polls ahead of the election showed that voters backing full legalization soared from a meager 12% in 1969 to 60% in recent times.

When the results came in, Maine, California, Massachusetts, and Nevada all passed measures to legalize recreational marijuana use, while Arizona’s highly contested Proposition 205 recreational marijuana measure failed. Florida, North Dakota, and Arkansas all voted to legalize medical marijuana usage, and Montana voted to expand the state’s medical marijuana laws.

In fact, the number of states legalizing marijuana has been rising at a steady pace since 2000. Prior to that year, only three states—California, Maine, and Oregon—had made medical cannabis legal. In the last six years, however, round 15 states have officially authorized medical marijuana, and 25 states have adopted medical marijuana programs, including the District of Columbia. Just last year, medical marijuana was legalized in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Tax Revenue to Improve

Sales from legalizing marijuana could help significantly boost the government’s tax revenues. In states like Colorado and Washington, the government collected roughly $70 million in tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales back in 2014, according to CNN and Time Magazine.

The legal marijuana industry is growing at a rapid pace, and gained 25% to $5.7 billion in 2015, making it one of the fastest-paced industries in the U.S., according to ArcView Group. The market research firm added that the industry was expected to grow by $7.1 billion last year. Financial behemoth Bank of American (BAC - Free Report) even said that the U.S. marijuana market could reach a net worth of $30 billion annually by 2020, almost three times the yearly revenue of the National Football League.

4 Marijuana Stocks to Buy Now

Given such bullish trends, the movement to legalize marijuana has definitely picked up steam. Below are four cannabis-linked stocks that are poised to benefit from legalization. These stocks boast a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) or #3 (Hold). The favorable Zacks Rank should help these stocks gain further.

AbbVie Inc. (ABBV - Free Report) is a biopharmaceutical company that already has a cannabis-based drug approved by the FDA. Called Marinol, the drug relieves nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy; it is also used for AIDS patients who have lost their appetites.

ABBV is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), and has increased just over 7.5% in the last one year. AbbVie expects year-over-year earnings growth of 12.4% for the current year, with two positive estimate revisions in the last 60 days compared to none lower.

Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (SMG - Free Report) manufactures, markets, and sells consumer lawn and garden products worldwide. In 2013, the company’s CEO Jim Hagedorn made a call to go after an emerging market—cannabis growers. Scotts is currently researching a line of branded pesticides designed for pot.

SMG is a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank, and has gained over 44% in the past one year. For the current year, Scotts expects earnings growth of 13.03% and sales growth of 4.66%, with one positive estimate revision in the last 60 days compared to none lower.

GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH - Free Report) is a biopharmaceutical company, and together with its subsidiaries, engages in discovering, developing, and commercializing cannabis prescription medicines. In particular, its cannabidiol drug Epidiolex has been very successful in trials and studies in treating seizures associated with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that occurs in infants.

GW Pharma is currently a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, and has surged almost 125% in the past one year. GWPH has an average earnings surprise of over 42%, and the company beat expectations in the past four consecutive quarters.

 Philip Morris International (PM - Free Report) manufactures and sells, other tobacco products, and other nicotine-containing products. Imagine how easy it would be for the company to begin selling pre-rolled joints, or simply replace nicotine liquid in e-cigarettes with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) liquid, the main chemical component found in marijuana. Philip Morris is also an investor in Syqe, an Israeli company that patented a unique cannabis inhaler.

PM is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, and the stock has gained over 8% in the past one year. For the current quarter, Philip Morris expects year-over-year earnings growth of 40.33%, and has beaten estimates in two of the last four quarters.

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