There's no doubt about it: the marijuana business is booming.
All over the country, companies are growing, processing, and selling pot and pot products.
It's legal for medical use in 33 states and D.C., while only 10 states and D.C. have legalized the drug for recreational use. Even more states have simply removed the criminal aspect of marijuana and only charge a fine for possession rather than jail time.
Still, it's a work in progress.
On a federal level, marijuana is still illegal. It's still classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration due to its high potential for addiction and lack of clear medical use.
Of course, the DEA is considering moving it down to a Schedule 2, which at least admits its medical applications and will allow for better examination of marijuana's effects.
But until that happens, every business that touches the drug is on thin ice, hoping to get by on state mandates rather than federal enforcement.
That makes investing in those companies risky, no matter how profitable they may be.
Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to get in on the marijuana business without actually touching the plant...
Businesses new and old need outside services to help their businesses grow. The marijuana industry is no different.
These services often include software designs that specialize in data analysis, real estate services that find the best places for growers to cultivate their product, and even social media to connect growers to users — and users with each other!
Be warned, however: most of these stocks are still new, and it's difficult to find ones that aren't, well, a little shady. They are dealing — albeit indirectly — with something that's still in the process of being legalized.
If you're nervous about buying over-the-counter stocks, we don't blame you one bit.
But for the investor ready to jump on the blossoming marijuana industry now, these stocks are on the safer side and will definitely benefit from any further legalization that passes in coming months.
With the world as connected as it is today, you can imagine that there's no way there wouldn't be an app or two geared toward cannabis users.
These apps can help cannabis fans find legal dispensaries, let those dispensaries advertise, and even allow users to share their experiences with fellow smokers.
The most successful of these to date has been MassRoots Inc. (NASDAQ: MSRT).
It’s been dubbed the “Facebook for pot” and has more than a million users as of 2019.
The company offers users a platform with which they can follow the news on legalization, get updates from their favorite legal dispensaries, and connect with fellow users.
And MassRoots, much like Facebook, offers those legal dispensaries a way to advertise on the platform.
According to the company's website, advertising began bringing in revenue in August 2015. The company recently acquired COWA Science Coroporation. During 2018's fiscal year, COWA brought in $1.5 million from just 50 cannabis-related clients. MassRoots aims to bolster their advertising services, process and product development, and more with their COWA acquisition.
MassRoots is planning to expand its services to include location-specific or specialty-specific ads, which will both add value to the advertising business and increase its customer base.
As of now, it's still an uphill battle to grow in such a carefully restricted market, but MassRoots is taking the safest route to popularity and profitability for the sake of itself and its investors.
The global legal marijuana market was estimated to be worth $12.2 billion in 2018, and is slated to be worth as much as $50 billion by 2026. With that kind of growth on the way, it's no wonder more people than ever are seeking out information on this market.
Now, short of advertising and social media, there's an even bigger section of the industry that marijuana businesses will soon have to deal with...
Every successful business out there knows who its customers are, what they want, and how to get it to them. It's simply good business sense to know where your money is coming from.
CannaSys (OTC: MJTK) offers just this kind of service.
Geared entirely toward the cannabis industry, CannaSys offers data analytics tools that optimize business operations and customer relations for cannabis companies.
Through its BumpUp Rewards program, CannaSys also offers its customers a way to connect more personally with their own customers. Companies can create customer reward systems on the BumpUp mobile marketing platform, which both inspires customer loyalty and gathers further customer data.
“Every good brand should have its own custom mobile application to connect with customers and promote brand awareness," reads the BumpUp page, and it makes a good point.
The biggest and best companies out there today have mobile applications that keep their customers updated and let them interact with the business. Even in this still-tentative phase, marijuana companies can't afford to be disconnected from the crowds.
Additionally, CannaSys's Cannabis Labs Information Management System offers data analytics services to marijuana laboratories. The system's abilities include data collection, instrument integration, and data reporting.
Now, this stock is the textbook definition of “penny stock,” trading at the time of writing at under $0.10. But the company only began trading in February 2016, so it's understandable that it hasn't quite grown out of its tiny stock size.
With all of the services it offers, however, it will certainly be worth a look once the marijuana business is in full swing.
For a canna-data powerhouse, CannaSys is the place to be.
Other companies assist cannabis growers and sellers in a more direct way — but still without touching the plant themselves.
Some offer services to the growers, processors, or sellers of the plant or any derivative products, but maintain a level of distance from the danger.
The largest of these service markets is real estate, be it places to grow the crop or to sell the product, but even consultation and branding can help cultivate the product without actually going near it.
General Cannabis (OTC: CANN) is a widely integrated company with subsidiaries and services across several of these levels of the marijuana industry.
First, the company itself offers assistance with finding real estate and capital to fund a company's agricultural needs.
General Cannabis acquired its first office space in Denver, Colorado, one of the first states to legalize recreational pot use.
The space, which the company is calling “The GreenHouse,” will be open for use by cannabis industry innovators, service providers, and licensed professionals in the industry.
Basically, it's another way to use real estate for cannabis that's even further distanced from the plant itself.
General Cannabis's subsidiary Next Big Crop is a consultation company. It offers services in business planning, application writing, operations optimization, company management, and expansion planning.
Another set of subsidiaries, Chiefton Supply Co. and Chiefton Design Co., design and develop branding and apparel for marijuana companies.
This apparel includes shirts, sweaters, and caps with custom, artistic designs. Chiefton Design can “collaborate with you to execute the vision you have for your brand,” and Chiefton Supply will get that design on a wearable and, more importantly, salable set of clothes.
Finally, General Cannabis's Iron Protection Group offers a whole different level of security for cannabis companies by training and sourcing physical protection.
This includes, according to the Iron Protection website, transportation of personnel and money, surveillance, forensics, and on-site personnel protection.
One of the most important of these is the money transportation. You see, since marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, most banks won't open accounts with cannabis companies, which means it's mostly a cash-only industry.
That puts the company's profits in danger. Iron Protection aims to help cull that problem until banks are safe to take that cash in.
Iron Protection also offers training and security services to government agencies, multinational corporations, and high-class individuals, in addition to protecting growing marijuana companies.
General Cannabis has a hand in a wide variety of no-touch marijuana businesses, which gives it several different angles from which to profit on the green trend. You can get more information on these services here.
The stock itself is up more than 495% over the past year, and while that's not hard to do with a small-cap stock like this, it certainly speaks to the potential for better gains in the future.
In fact, all of these companies have great possibilities. And even if you're still nervous about these small-cap companies, you will undoubtedly want to keep an eye on the cannabis industry as it grows into its full potential.