Pot Stocks: The Good, The Bad, And The Buzzy
For the past several years & definitely in 2015 Marijuana stocks are some of the most talked about in today’s market. What was once taboo just a few years ago is now on the tip of everyone’s tongue? No matter if it’s speculation or forthright belief that this is the next industrial revolution, if you trade stocks, the question of “Should I invest in pot stocks?” has probably crossed your mind at least once in the last 18 months. So where are we after a little over a year following legalization of marijuana in half the US (in some shape or form)?
Hundreds of new marijuana companies are popping up in the public space. Marijuana Stocks have become some of the most talked about in the market with many of them being considered penny stocks. Low priced and emerging growth companies have taken center stage and while larger companies like GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) and Insys Therapeutics (INSY) forge ahead with their use of marijuana as a viable option for biotechnology applications, these relatively smaller companies have broadened the market to not only include production of the actual plant but to also include ancillary services like security systems, consulting services, marijuana storage & preparation products, even in the beverage industry. There’s no denying the potential in the marijuana business. Alcohol and tobacco companies bring in billions of dollars in sales and profit every year so with such a green industry, why shouldn’t there be an Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) or Altria (MO) of pot?
Furthermore, it’s not just the average penny stock investor buying these pot stocks. Wall Street Analysts have begun coverage of several marijuana companies and several well-known investment firms have begun to put money into pot. Fidelity, Federated (FII), Janus (JNS) and BlackRock (BLK) are just a few of these firms. Many pot stocks have had an err of negativity not only due to conservative opposition politically but also because of the huge spikes that 2014’s first quarter showed. Now that the investment community has become well aware of the risks involved (especially after so many pot stocks were halted last year), many of the marijuana stock trading in the market today have actually been better from a longer term perspective (when the typical 2014 investor focused on the 2-day or 2-week flip).
I took at look over a period of 6 months from December of 2014 to May 2015 to see if a buy and hold strategy with pot stocks would start making sense. In several cases, this approach to an investment in marijuana companies would have paid off. Totally Hemp Crazy (THCZ) was trading between $0.0057 and $0.0205 during the month of December. Over the course of these last 6 months, an investment at those levels and even much higher than that would have paid off handsomely. Assuming an average price during December of .009, THCZ shares have increased in price by as much as $0.311 after the stock hit highs of $0.32 in early April and then once again tested $0.30+ right before May. A buy and hold strategy would have shown a potential profit of nearly 3,500%…and the current 6 month trend for this pot stock remains in a positive direction.
Pot Stock investments centered in the biotech space have been ever growing especially for cancer therapies. Oxis International (OXIS), GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH), and Insys Therapeutics (INSY) all focus in this specific segment and all three have seen significant price appreciation since December. Oxis has gone from having a caveat emptor on OTC markets in December to just filing a 14-C to lay groundwork for a reverse split that “The Board believes…may be desirable because it could assist the Company in meeting the requirements for initial listing on NASDAQ by helping to raise the bid or closing price for our common stock.”
From trading between $0.0131-$0.018 in December, shares of Oxis have increased by as much as 434%. In a similar fashion, but at much higher prices, GW Pharma and Insys have also enjoyed a health dose of price movement. GW from late December lows around $65 to recent late April highs of $126.78 and INSY from around $35 at the beginning of December to highs in April of $67.87. In fact less than 3 weeks ago, INSY posted its earnings which not only showed a increase in net rev by nearly 70% but it also showed that the company had more than $70m in cash at the end of the first quarter in comparison to just over $40m in the same period of 2014.
Even the agricultural space is breaking ground for pot. CannaGrow Holdings (CGRW) and Two Rivers Water and Farming Co (TURV) was trading at $0.4427 in mid December and has just recently hit new 6-month highs this week at $0.96. The company’s subsidiary, GrowCo was founded in May of last year and provides green houses to marijuana farmers throughout the US. For Cannagrow, the stock price has jumped from around $0.20 in December to as high as $1.05 earlier this year. Both stocks have maintained price above their previous channels in December.
Unfortunately this is still the stock market and with much speculation, can come high risk. Pot stocks aren’t all bright and shiny; in fact many have fallen incredibly fast over the last 6 months. The main contributing factor, which has stifled progress has many times been the companies themselves. Through toxic financing or even the simple lack of moving from the development stage to the working stage has caused many of the “would be” bullish marijuana stocks to react negatively in the market. MaryJane Group (MJMJ) for instance, has a working property in Colorado; a Bud And Breakfast. However, due to heavy dilution in the market this stock has declined by almost 100%. For this in particular, MJMJ was trading at $0.50 in November of last year and today’s prices show the stock trading at less than a penny! Even with what appears to be positive press, the dilutive nature in the market seems to have forced this stock to become a quick trade as opposed to a “buy and hold” pot stock.
Creative Edge Nutrition (FITX) has been riddled with curiosity on the truthfulness of the company’s management and has even raised international eyebrows as of late. I know I’ve been looking from a 6-7month time frame but FITX may take the cake after getting hammered for the better part of the last year. A once $0.10 stock, now trades at roughly half a penny. Medbox Inc (MDBX) has also fallen victim to the riggors of selling pressure. Since early December, shares of MDBX (once trading above $8/share) have fallen to new all time lows in May. A decrease in revenue compared to that of Q1 2014, net loss nearly tripling, and millions of dollars still left in its “notes payable” section on the balance sheet can’t be helping things especially when or if these note in particular come time to convert at low prices.
Even though it wasn’t trading any higher than $0.0074 since December, heavy dilution and what many are saying “broken promises” have forced Vapor Group Inc (VPOR) stock to tumble to all time lows of $0.0008. Filings are delinquent, the stock is trading with three zeros before any kind of share price and yet another increase in its authorized shares from 4.5 BILLION to 8 BILLION, following at May 21 8K filing. This is just an example of what can happen with small cap companies especially when the potential could be there. Vapor Group financials show from its 2014 10K that the company is producing revenues and showed a gross profit margin of 68%! Where’s the disconnect?
As you know, pot stocks have been heavily “pumped” not only by newsletters but by individual investors on social media & message boards. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion but with buzz can come uncertainty so it’s important to pay attention to who’s saying what and why they are saying it. The blatant “pumpy” nature of some of these people simply has no weight to back up any of their lofty statements BUT if you have a company that has released good news and the buzz is a result of a technical set up or company event, the buzz can be a real catalyst for gains.
Recently several companies have begun to take hold in the social media world and have garnered much more attention in comparison to previous months. FBEC Worldwide (FBEC) has been gaining more appeal after a similar company (mentioned above) found massive success in the hemp infused beverage market. Dubbed as “an upcoming beverage company with intellectual property formulas and marketing capability for production and distribution of proprietary supplements, beverages, and H.E.M.P. Energy shot-drinks”, FBEC seems to be building from the inside out starting with its development team. Just recently the company announced that it entered into a Letter of Intent with G. Randall & Sons Inc, who’s co-founder Linda Strause, Ph.D., has “an extensive 30-year background in clinical science with biotech companies.” Since April, the stock has seen highs of $0.09, up from previous lows of $0.01. Now that it appears volume has become a bit more consistent, this stock labeled by many as a “low float play” has increased in price 1,300 after pulling in to $0.004.
Pazoo Inc (PZOO) has also been “buzzing” in the twittersphere. Announcements in March sparked speculation and somewhat of a stamp of approval by investors and traders after seeing that the company has been pushing toward more progress for marijuana testing (something that to me has been overlooked in all of the marijuana industry progress). Furthermore, the company also recently announced the payoff of roughly $400k in convertible notes which could have potential been a larger source of dilution to Pazoo’s relatively liquid market. Since March, share price for this pot stock has increased from a low of $0.004 on March 11 to highs of $0.0204 just before the close of April.
Also creating some buzz has been app company Mass Roots (MSRT). The company has received acclaim from not just the trading community but from news organizations like CNN, CNBC, Fortune, and The New York Times. Businesses can use MassRoots to advertise their goods and services to cannabis consumers and based on the stock price being above $1 (unlike many of the other marijuana stocks on the market), MSRT has gained attention from other investors who otherwise would not “play” a stock below that price threshold. In a recent press release, the company announced that MassRoots now has 174 of the 510 dispensaries in Colorado, or 34.1%, using its network to keep their customers updated. According to Massroots, these 510 dispensaries in Colorado did $699.2 million in cannabis sales according to the Colorado Department of Revenue, during 2014. Though share price and volume have been relatively light, buzz surrounding this stock has increased so this could be something to keep an eye on. It wasn’t that long ago that MSRT was trading above $7/share.
In the end, your decision to buy pot stocks or sell pot stocks is something only you can make. The risks are evident, the opportunity is apparent, and the best part of all of this is that there are still untapped markets throughout the United States due to legalization; or lack there of. Whether you’re looking for the right marijuana stock to buy or you’re just simply interested in pot stock news, this is just a brief over view of what I have seen during the evolution of the industry as a whole.
You can find the Wolf of Weed Street at marijuanastocks.com
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