Update: On Wednesday, New York state legalized marijuana, becoming the 15th state to legalize recreational cannabis use. Shortly after publication, the House passed the MORE Act on a 218 to 162 vote. The bill will move on to the Senate. This story was originally published on December 4, 2020.
Weed has long been on its way to decriminalization across the country, and today may mark its biggest step forward to date.
The House will be voting on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or the MORE Act, which would not only decriminalize marijuana, but create business opportunities for entrepreneurs in the industry. It's unlikely that the bill will be approved by the Republican-controlled Senate, and states would first need to approve the sale of weed before dispensaries begin popping up everywhere. However, the fact that it at least made it to the floor of the House is a milestone for the weed industry and for communities affected most by the War on Drugs.
The marijuana industry, which is currently valued at $3 billion in the US, is quickly growing as more states legalize the drug. Last month, New Jersey, Arizona, and Montana approved ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana, and Mississippi has voted to legalize medical marijuana use. South Dakota approved ballot measures for both recreational and medical use. That brings the grand total for recreational use to 15 states and Washington, DC, while 38 states and DC allow some form of weed for medical use.
Here are the largest companies in the weed industry, in order of market capitalization, at the time this article was published. (Note that weed stocks tend to fluctuate wildly based on good legalization news, bad legalization news, or no news at all.) The companies on the list top the Marijuana Index, a list of 28 US-based companies that have at least 50% of their operations in cannabis. The Index is compiled by ManifestSeven, a platform that offers cannabis regulatory services.
1. Curaleaf Holdings (CSE:CURA)
Market Capitalization: $7.97 billion
CEO: Joe Lusardi
Curaleaf, the biggest marijuana company in the US, cultivates and sells both recreational and medicinal cannabis, with 93 dispensaries in 23 states. With a market cap nearing $8 billion, Curaleaf is by far the largest company in the industry, and potentially has the most to gain from nationwide marijuana legalization. The company already has a strong presence in New York’s medical market, as well as a popularity in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
2. Green Thumb Industries (CSE:GTII)
Market Capitalization: $4.6 billion
CEO: Peter Kadens
Green Thumb, the second largest cannabis company in the country, operates nearly 50 stores in 12 states, and sells medicinal and recreational cannabis through both wholesale and retail channels. Its products include Dr. Solomon's, Dogwalkers, and Beboe.
3. GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH)
Market Capitalization: $4.3 billion
CEO: Justin David Gover
Unlike many companies on this list, GW Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapeutics using cannabis. Epidiolex, the company's main product, is a liquid plant-derived cannabidiol used for the treatment of childhood-onset epilepsy disorders. The UK-based company also operates in the US and Canada.
4. Trulieve Cannabis (CNSX:TRUL)
Market Capitalization: $3.6 billion
CEO: Kim Rivers
Trulieve’s focus is mainly on the cultivation, possession, use, sale, and distribution of medical marijuana, making it a vertically integrated seed to sale company. The company is the first and leading medical marijuana producer in Florida, and has 66 out of 71 stores in the state.
5. Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR)
Market Capitalization: $3.3 billion
CEO: Paul E. Smithers
Innovative Industrial Properties (IIP) is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that manages medical-use cannabis facilities. Like many REITs, IIP’s business model uses a traditional umbrella partnership real estate investment trust, or UPREIT structure. With more widespread medical use of marijuana, IIP stands to gain property management rights across the country.
6. Cresco Labs (PRIVATE:CRESCOLABS)
Market Capitalization: $2.1 billion
CEO: Michael Lerner
Cresco Labs grows, manufactures, and distributes cannabis, and is one of the largest cannabis operators in the US. The company has 15 production facilities in nine states, and owns 19 dispensaries.
7. GrowGeneration Corp (PRIVATE:GROWGENERATION)
Market Capitalization: $1.8 billion
CEO: Darren Lampert
GrowGeneration is a Denver-based retail hydroponic and organic gardening chain. The company distributes nutrients, growing media, advanced indoor and greenhouse lighting, and ventilation systems — in short, everything you need to have your own hydroponic weed farm. While the company doesn’t directly deal in cannabis, it’s frequently lumped in with other leading cannabis companies and is a favorite among home growers. If recreational marijuana were legalized across the country, home-grown weed would inevitably become a more common practice.
8. Columbia Care (PRIVATE:COLUMBIACARESERVICES)
Market Capitalization: $1.2 billion
CEO: Nicholas Vita
Columbia Care, a New York-based company, cultivates, manufactures, and sells medical cannabis products, including vape oil, sublingual tinctures, lotions, hard pressed tablets, and even suppositories.