Legal Cannabis Creates Yet Another Spinoff Industry—Wall Street-Style Data Analytics

WASHINGTON: Washington State’s newly legal cannabis capitalists don’t tend to agree on much. Ask any one of them about any current pot-business topic—the regulation of medical marijuana, indoor versus outdoor grows, whether labs fudge pesticide and potency test results for favored clients—and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a passionate harangue. But the more you talk to them, the more they seem to agree on one refrain: However volatile our market might seem, and however much investment capital is sloshing around trying to turn itself into profit, the big bucks haven’t even shown up yet.

As Gordon Fagras of the lab Trace Analytics put it: “The big players are just standing back. They’ll be coming in slowly, picking up the pieces as other businesses fail.” Because marijuana is still federally criminalized and the market is so young, the heavyweight financiers—in big agriculture, big tobacco, big pharmaceuticals, and big alcohol—are biding their time. But when they arrive, cannabis data analysts like Brian Yauger (of the local company Tetratrak) and Jonathan Rubin (of New York–based New Leaf Data Services) will be rolling out the welcome wagon and trying to turn them into clients.

Yauger and Rubin are in the same business, but the contrasts between them are a case study in the different personalities—newcomers and longtime pros—trying to make their way in the new cannabis marketplace.

Yauger is a Texan who coached college football for decades before starting a “green” construction business in Austin that helped commercial properties meet environmental standards by filling their roofs with insulation and coating them with epoxy to reflect solar heat. Then he met, in his words, a “multi-, multi-, multi-millionaire” from the Seattle tech world who convinced him to move up here and get to work analyzing the local pot market.

His business, Tetratrak, analyzes public data and sells information to subscribers. Yauger can tell you the most popular day to buy weed in Washington (Saturday), the number of customers at recreational pot stores on July 12, 2014 (2,188), the average wholesale and retail prices of a gram that month ($15.88, $27.95), the number of customers on June 27, 2015 (21,385), the wholesale and retail prices that month ($3.74, $12.91), the most popular strains in Seattle right now (Blue Dream, Cinex, Dutch Treat), and where the highest-revenue pot shops are these days (in order: New Vansterdam and Main Street Marijuana in Vancouver, Uncle Ike’s in Seattle, Herbal Nation in Bothell).


Cannabis Construction: Entrepreneurs Use Hemp In Home Building

NEW YORK:  It started with Hurricane Katrina: the flooded houses in New Orleans festering with mold, many uninhabitable to this day. Then came the earthquake in Haiti: thousands dead, crushed by homes that should have been their sanctuaries.

James Savage, then a Wall Street analyst living on Central Park West, grew disturbed about the conditions he saw on television and in the newspapers.

“There has to be something better we can do than this,” he recalled thinking last week as he sat at the kitchen table inside his new home here on a cliff overlooking the Hudson River 120 miles north of New York City.

The solution he has come up with is not some space-age polymer or recycled composite but a material that has been in use for millenniums, though it is more often demonized than venerated on these shores.

Could This Recent Study On Casual Marijuana Use Crush Marijuana’s Momentum?

NEW YORK:  If you polled Americans a decade ago for their opinion on marijuana, there’s a good chance you would have received an overwhelming number of responses against the idea of legalization. In fact, Gallup polls suggest that just one-in-four respondents were in favor of legalizing marijuana 10 years ago.

Marijuana’s perception evolution
Nowadays things are far different. A Gallup poll in 2013 showed that nearly three in five people are in favor of marijuana’s legalization. Furthermore, growing public acceptance of marijuana for its medical benefits and the tax revenue it can generate have led to 23 states approving marijuana for medical purposes and four legalizing it for recreational, adult use.

But just because marijuana’s momentum is increasing doesn’t mean that the slate of studies highlighting its potential dangers have decreased in any meaningful way. Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that a majority of studies to date (and when I say majority I mean more than nine out of 10) have examined marijuana’s negative effects rather than any benefits it might present, so the sheer number of negative studies could very well be due to this research imbalance.

Still, studies like the one presented in the Journal of Neuroscience by nine authors last year, including those from Harvard Medical School, Northwestern University, and Massachusetts General Hospital, concerning cannabis use in young adults, could remain a deterrent toward a rapid expansion of marijuana’s potential uses in the medical field.

Making Money From Marijuana

NEW YORK: Making money from marijuana in the past used to require navigating the red tape of the law.  Jim Cramer has had his eye on one stock that is giving him quite a buzz.

GW Pharmaceuticals is a speculative drug company that has a history of volatile trading. However, Cramer wouldn’t be surprised if the more than 10 percent jump in the stock on Wednesday is just the start of this stock being… high.

To find out where this stock could be headed, the “Mad Money” host sat down with Justin Gover, the CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals.

Cramer considers GW Pharma to be the one really legitimate play on medicinal marijuana, as it uses marijuana to develop real medicine. Additionally, it is a British company that doesn’t need to worry about the U.S. laws that make owning large quantities of pot a felony.


Fraudsters Target Pot Stocks

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Wall Street cops are scrambling to weed out fraudsters preying on the fledgling world of corporate marijuana as voters legalize the drug in more states and cities.

Publicly traded cannabis businesses are a new vehicle for stock scammers promising big returns. And the number of cases could grow as more regions loosen their marijuana restrictions.

Following Election Day ballot-initiative victories, Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia are poised to unlock new opportunities for marijuana companies. They join Colorado and Washington, which have already legalized the drug. In addition, 2016 ballot measures are likely in five states — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a lobbying group. State lawmakers in Rhode Island and Vermont are also considering legalizing cannabis.

Companies selling marijuana products and spinoff businesses associated with its distribution have tapped the public stock markets. They provide an easy target for fraudsters looking to convince gullible investors there is gold in weed.





Stoners Trade Tie-Dye T-Shirts For Wall Street Suits

NEW YORK: Josh Gordon would cut a dashing figure in a suit. He grew up in Miami, Fla., as the son of two private wealth managers and saw himself going into the same field. He enrolled in Fordham Graduate School of Business, moved to the Upper West Side and had some interviews for jobs with investment banks.

But, it turns out, a suit’s not his style.

It was at Fordham that, for a class project four years ago, he did research into the new legal marijuana economy. Some people’s eyes get red around marijuana; Gordon’s filled with dollar signs. The budding economy was in need of some refinement, and he saw a plan.

He soon built a prototype: a sleek tin carrying case for joints — something that would do for doobies what the velvet bag does for Crown Royal.

“You go into a dispensary and buy $100 worth of cannabis and it’s coming in that bag you got when you were going to school,” the 27-year-old says in a glass-lined conference room on West Broadway.

Growlife Halted; Marijuana Penny Stocks Doomed

NEW YORK:  I warned you. Over and over, frankly, and consider this yet another warning. Stay away from hyped-up penny stocks, which so far this year has meant specifically staying away from the marijuana-weed-pot penny stocks, most of which even at this moment, are still up many hundreds of percent in the last year. Most of these over-the-counter weed penny stocks are just vehicles for their insiders to sell shares to retail investors caught up in the hype of the legalized marijuana revolution.

Let me explain again. I’ve repeatedly highlighted Growlife PHOT  as a poster-child for this game in which the retail investor is always the mark, and late last week, holders of PHOT woke up to news that the SEC had finally gotten off their butt and was suspending trading in this stock while they investigate the company’s stock trades “because of questions that have been raised about the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace and potentially manipulative transactions in PHOT’s common stock.”

I have certainly been one of those who have raised questions about the accuracy and adequacy and potentially manipulative transactions in PHOT’s common stock. I’m glad to see the investigation, even coming way too late for all those retail investors who got stuck with this now suspended stock.


Bloom Off Of Pot Stocks On Wall Street

NEW YORK: Wall Street seems to be losing its appetite for pot.

Marijuana stocks were high flyers — so to speak — after Colorado and Washington states legalized pot sales and several other states announced they may legalize sales or decriminalize possession. Shares in about 20 marijuana-related companies began soaring, with some gaining more than 500% off 52-week lows.

But marijuana mania continues to fade as investors realize there’s more smoke than fire at many companies, which show “pot-tential” but little actual revenue. CannaVest, which specializes in industrial hemp production, had climbed to $180 a share last month. After dropping 11% to to $61.45 Thursday, it’s lost nearly two-thirds of its market value.

U.S. Regulators Warn Marijuana Scams Growing Like Weeds

NEW YORK: Investors in marijuana-related stocks may see their profits go up in smoke, U.S. regulators said on Tuesday.The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s industry-funded watchdog, warned that scammers have been targeting investors attempting to tap into the growing U.S. marijuana industry.

Nearly 20 states permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and voters in Washington and Colorado recently made recreational use legal as well. [Read more…]