Marijuana ETFs Rise – and Fall – on Regulatory Hopes

Like any recovering reporter, I like to keep tabs on my old beats, and the marijuana ETF space never disappoints. Or, perhaps more accurately, it never stops disappointing.

That’s because, as an investment theme, marijuana has provided investors more hype and hope than return. For years, market observers have predicted cannabis was on the cusp of becoming a $100 billion industry. Yet in 2022, the U.S. cannabis industry was worth only $13 billion, with the rosiest estimates of cannabis sales reaching $34 billion by the end of 2023. (Compare that to, say, tobacco, whose revenues surpassed $82 billion in 2022.)

Disappointment perpetuates. Cannabis is legal for medical and/or recreational use in 39 states, at the federal level. But the drug is as much under lock and key as it ever was.

As a result, every congressional memo or procedural vote is enough to whipsaw markets — including this week’s reports of a new marijuana banking bill advancing for consideration to the Senate floor.

Has anything really changed? Sure. Slightly. Very slightly. But we’ve heard this song and dance before, so pardon me if I remain skeptical.

Rescheduling Talk, Federal Bill Push Marijuana ETFs Higher YTD

Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed that for the past several weeks, most of the top-performing U.S.-listed ETFs have been marijuana funds.

Over the past month, the AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (YOLO) is up 43%; the ETFMG U.S. Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ) is up 41%; and the Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (CNBS) is up 30%.

Read more: “Top Performing ETFs: Cannabis ETFs Ahead