Though the marijuana industry is still fraught with legal issues in the United States, a host of public cannabis companies are taking advantage of the exponential growth while sidestepping the regulatory nightmare of actually growing pot.
From providing branding and packaging to marijuana distributors to hydroponic equipment to real estate, the public companies on this list have hitched their fortunes to cannabis.
Some traditional pharmaceutical companies also stand to gain from the growth in the industry; as rules governing marijuana become laxer, they can more easily obtain the plant for research purposes and pharmaceutical extraction of key therapeutic chemicals.
The list of public cannabis companies below was compiled based on media reports from reports in financial publications like The Street, Benzinga, Forbes magazine and others from the past year.
Public Cannabis Companies
Kush Bottles (KSHB)
Traded on OTCQB (a branded over-the-counter market)
Kush Bottles is a marijuana packaging, branding, and accessory company that makes pipes, bongs and other paraphernalia, as well as handling custom pot packaging on an industrial scale.
“This forward-thinking startup is a one-stop shop for any business looking to get started in the legal cannabis trade,” according to the company’s website. “It has built itself a first-mover advantage by providing cannabis enterprises across the U.S. with market expertise, proper branding and high-quality packaging that satisfies the stringent requirements of the law.”
According to the company’s second-quarter 2017 report to the SEC, Kush was profitable and increased its revenues to $3 million, a year-over-year increase of 65 percent.
Kush Bottles is based in Santa Ana, Calif.
Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (SMG)
Traded on NYSE
The lawn and garden juggernaut makes almost all of its cash on fertilizer, pesticide, dirt and other landscaping products.
But, according to Forbes magazine, the company has been betting big on the cannabis industry over the past couple years, buying up hydroponics and other grow equipment operations for a total of $400 million dollars in 2016.
“Invest, like, half a billion in the pot business,” Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn told Forbes in 2016. “It is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen in lawn and garden.”
Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR)
Traded on NYSE
Innovative Industrial Properties is a commercial real estate firm that handles property leased to companies that cultivate medical marijuana.
“We target medical-use cannabis facilities for acquisition, including sale-leaseback transactions, with tenants that are licensed growers under long-term triple-net leases,” company officials state on their web site. “We believe this industry is poised for significant growth in coming years, and we are focused on being a creative capital provider to this industry.”
The Maryland-based IIP in May of this year purchased a Maryland property that will eventually house 72,000 square feet of cultivation, administered by their tenant Holistic Industries LLC.
Traded on NYSE
AbbVie is a tradition big pharma company who manufactures the 40-year-old cannabis distillate Marinol (dronabinol). It’s basically pure THC used to treat loss of appetite and vomiting in cancer patients and people with AIDS.
Marinol makes up only a tiny part of AbbVie’s revenue, judging by how seldom officials mentioned in the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
The Chicago-based company’s main revenue comes from its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira (adalimumab).
Still, because it’s one of the few cannabis derivatives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it’s been at the center of a lot of clinical research into the medical uses for marijuana, and the stock is highly valued in general.
GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH)
Traded on NASDAQ
GW Pharmaceuticals is the company that makes the marijuana distillate Sativex, a combination drug that contains a roughly one-to-one ratio of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD), the two most active cannabinoids in weed.
Sativex isn’t approved for use in the U.S., but in the United Kingdom where GW is based, doctors prescribe it to treat spastic symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
The drug has been tested on a number of other conditions in various clinical studies, however. Researchers have explored its use as a sleep aid for people suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic cancer pain that opioids can’t control, and to control nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy recipients to varying degrees of success.
More exciting for investors is GW has a new epilepsy drug currently in clinical trials, according to the company website.
“Our lead product candidate is Epidiolex (cannabidiol) for certain rare and severe early-onset, drug-resistant epilepsy syndromes,” the site states.
Though it’s a UK-based company, GW also has operations in the U.S. and has lobbied on various initiatives in congress that would loosen restrictions on medical cannabis. As a result of these efforts, GW Pharma is one of the most well respected public cannabis companies by industry veterans.
Bookmark this page and check back over the coming year. With recent voting promising new cannabis-friendly laws, there is sure to be a massive influx of public cannabis companies.