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Gourav Das is an irreverent copywriter and business writing coach. He's on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle.

Getting started into investing, especially with the cannabis industry, can be intimidating. It might even deter some people. But that won’t stop people from trying. Keep in mind that the cannabis adult-use market will be projected to have a retail value of $4.1 billion by the end of 2021, according to CIBC analysts.

Why the cannabis industry?

There are a lot of different options to choose from and because of that, it can make the process of picking which stock to buy confusing. The options include Canadian cannabis stocks, US stocks, and other stocks internationally. There are also options between recreational cannabis and legalized medicinal cannabis.

Let’s get one thing clear about the stock market, though. There are no guarantees in this seemingly lawless land. There are just as many ways to make money as there are to lose money, so remember to always exercise caution while investing in the cannabis industry.

What are ETFs?

Now this is where an exchange-traded fund (ETF) comes into play. One method to minimize the risk that comes with investing in individual stocks is to instead invest that money into an ETF. ETFs help investors by exposing them to the industry as a whole, especially one that is estimating double-digit growth for the rest of the decade.

So what is an ETF? ETFs are a type of investment fund or security that can hold and track multiple different assets or even other securities. ETFs are similar to mutual funds, with the exception that ETFs can be traded throughout the day on stock exchanges. There are even some ETFs that can be structured to track different investment strategies.

Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF

Let’s talk about Marijuana ETFs. One Canadian ETF called the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF is currently being traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. This ETF focuses mainly on the medicinal cannabis scene, perfect for anyone who’s looking to get into the medicinal side of things.

Horizons has over 40 holdings within the fund’s assets, with a wide range of different companies. These include pharmaceuticals, cultivators, and plant fertilizers. Even though Horizons have over 40 holdings, seven companies make up over 60% of the ETF. These companies are Aphria, Canopy Growth, and Cronos, just to name a few.

AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF

Using another ETF as an example, let’s take a look at AdvisorShare’s Pure Cannabis ETF. It trades on exchanges under the ticker YOLO and it is the first actively managed cannabis ETF. YOLO focuses on small to mid-cap stocks that range from domestic to foreign. Examples of the stocks being held are HEXO and OrganiGram Holdings.

AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (YOLO)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 173.7%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.75%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: 1.33%
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 698,008
  • Assets Under Management: $427.1 million
  • Inception Date: April 17, 2019
  • Issuer: AdvisorShares

YOLO is an actively managed ETF that seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing in both domestic and foreign cannabis equities. The fund is heavily weighted to large-cap equities primarily in the U.S. and Canada.

Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (CNBS)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 188.7%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.75%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: 0.32%
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 246,241
  • Assets Under Management: $138.4 million
  • Inception Date: July 23, 2019
  • Issuer: Amplify

CNBS is an actively managed ETF that provides exposure to the North American cannabis industry by investing at least 80% of its assets in securities of companies that generate 50% or more of their revenue from the cannabis and hemp ecosystem. The majority of the fund’s 26 holdings operate within either the cultivation and retail or agricultural technology sectors of the cannabis market. But pharmaceuticals and biotechnology companies also garner a sizeable representation. It follows a blended strategy investing in a mix of growth and value stocks of mostly large-cap companies. The fund’s top three holdings include sponsored ADRs of GW Pharmaceuticals PLC, a developer of cannabinoid prescription medicines; Aphria Inc. a provider of medical marijuana products; and Canopy Growth Corp. a medical marijuana producer.

Cannabis ETF (THCX)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 118.1%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.70%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: 2.14%
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 385,533
  • Assets Under Management: $185.5 million
  • Inception Date: July 9, 2019
  • Issuer: Innovation Shares LLC

THCX tracks the Innovation Labs Cannabis Index, which consists of global companies engaged in the legal cannabis, hemp, or CBD-based pharmaceutical, consumer product, and wellness markets. The ETF was designed to provide a convenient way for investors to gain exposure to a basket of stocks expected to benefit from growth in the hemp and legal marijuana industries. Can You Legally Buy Weed Online? Yes. As long as you live in a state where marijuana is, in fact, legal,

 The majority of the fund’s holdings are based in the U.S. and Canada. It is heavily weighted to the pharmaceuticals and biotech sector and follows a blended strategy of investing in a mix of value and growth stocks. The fund’s top three holdings include Aphria; Amyris Inc., a producer of chemical products for a range of markets, such as flavors and fragrances, cosmetics ingredients, and pharmaceuticals; and Village Farms International.

Good news as an investor

The thing about marijuana ETFs is that most of the top ETFs that can be found will share the same holdings for the most part. This is due to the fact that there aren’t many publicly traded companies that deal with cannabis products.

In any case, the growth potential of individual stocks remain. Cannabis ETFs minimizes the risk of individual stocks while also providing insight on a potential stock that could take off. And remember, marijuana stocks should be part of an investment portfolio—be sure to diversify when possible.

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