How to invest in marijuana stocks

Which of the mushrooming marijuana companies will thrive long-term if pot manages to stay on the right side of the law? Here’s our best bets.

This is the stuff of investing legend. For the first time in history, not one but two jurisdictions have legalized possession of marijuana (Colorado and Washington). Overnight, companies that may have been laughable are suddenly the talk of Wall Street. The most stunning example, of course, is Medbox Inc. (PINK:MDBX). Shares in the Hollywood-based maker of a standalone medicine dispenser (think the Redbox of pot), shot up nearly 7000 percent in two weeks from $3 a share to north of $200 a share (they’ve since sold off to still hove around $70 a share).

Other pot stocks have also enjoyed spectacular gains. But the big question is which of these companies will thrive long-term if pot manages to stay on the right side of the law? Here’s our table of the Top 14 best marijuana stocks based on market cap. Beneath that, check out the top 3 marijuana stocks we currently view as the best of the best.

Company Market Cap. Product or service
Medbox Inc. (PINK:MDBX) $612M The Redbox of pot
GW Pharmaceuticals (PINK:GWPRF) $131.67M UK-based nasal pot-spray producer; drug targets specific illnesses
Medical Marijuana Inc. (PINK:MJNA) $61.65M A holding company of sorts for pot-related products and services
Cannabis Science Inc. (PINK:CBIS) $44.66M Medical marijuana producer
Fusion Pharm Inc. (PINK:FSPM) $22.02M Equipment-maker and consultant to the marijuana industry
SearchCore Inc. (PINK:SRER) $18.78M Marijuana-centric marketing company
Growlife Inc. (OTC:PHOT) $14.09M Seed and hydroponics equipment maker
GreenGro Technologies Inc.(PINK:GRNH) $5.69M Medical marijuana producer and dispenser
Tranzbyte Corp. (PINK:ERBB) $2.25M Producer of 30+ strains of organic medical cannabis through subsidiary Altitude Organic Medicine
Rapid Fire Marketing Inc. (PINK:RFMK) $1.58M Marijuana-centric marketing company
Converted Organics Inc. (PINK:COIN) $590K Organic fertilizer producer
HEMP Inc. (PINK:HEMP) Unknown Industrial hemp-maker focusing on non-pot-related uses of cannabis

1) Medical Marijuana Inc. (PINK:MJNA) Medical Marijuana Inc. operates five pot-related businesses: Photosphere (a medical-grade cannabis producer), Red Dice Holdings (produces hemp-oil based products, namely Dixie Elixirs drops, which present an alternative delivery method for pot), Hemp Med Rx (a marijuana-related medical technology company), Wellness Managed Services (a marijuana dispensary operator), and CanChew Biotechnologies (a chewing gum-based marijuana product). As of Sept. 30, 2012, the company claimed total assets of $8.1 million and net income during the quarter of $1.19 million.

2) GW Pharmaceuticals (PINK:GWPRF) Founded in 1998, GW markets Sativex, “an oromucosal spray for the treatment of MS symptoms, cancer pain and neuropathic pain.” The UK-based company is continuing research into new applications for medical marijuana. The company sold £5.4M worth of Sativex through the six months ended March 31, 2012.

3) SearchCore Inc. (PINK:SRER). SearchCore’s already making some decent cash. The Newport Beach-based technology company grew profits by 38 percent to $1.2 million during Q3 (per OCBJ). Their MO? Making weed-related websites. Among them are WeedMaps.com, which provides information on medicinal marijuana dispensaries; MMJMenu.com, a site for medicinal marijuana dispensaries, and SafeAccessMD, which offers software for doctors who prescribe medicinal marijuana.

Runner Up: Cannabis Science Inc. (PINK:CBIS). CBIS focuses on “phytocannabinoid” science – that’s the pursuit of marijuana blends that target specific illnesses including HIV/AIDS and cancer. Through Sept. 30, 2012, the company claimed total assets of $1,778,489, but lost more than $2 million in the quarter. Research into medical marijuana doesn’t come cheap.

Side notes: Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) developed a synthetic version of marijuana that could start gaining stream. And watch out if a major tobacco producer (say Marlboro-maker Altria) decides to move into the marijuana space. Their deep pockets could crush competition and they just might have a new product to hang their hats on. Don’t expect any announcements until we get more direction from the Federal government, though.

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