Trading the Latest "High-Flying" Stocks

01/08/2014 7:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana gave pot stocks a new high last week, notes John Burke of Wall Street Sector Selector.

The new year also brought legalized recreational marijuana to Colorado and as a result, pot stocks got quite high. Many of you probably were not even aware that “pot stocks” were being traded. Back in 2009, Medical Marijuana Incorporated (MJNA) was the first Initial Pot Offering. When I wanted to participate in the historic moment of the first legal trading day for shares in a business solely involved in the sale of marijuana, I found that at least one brokerage firm refused to allow its customers to trade the stock. Fortunately, I had two brokerage accounts.

In January of 2014, there are a number of publicly-traded companies involved in the sale of marijuana. Aside from MJNA, which is still a thriving business, here are some of the others:

Medbox (MDBX) shares jumped 35.27% to $24.70 on Thursday, as Colorado’s new law took effect. Medbox is a West Hollywood-based company, which manufactures vending machines that can be used for a variety of medicines. Here is how their product is described at the company’s website:

Our Company features patented systems that dispense medication to individuals based on biometric identification (fingerprint sample). Our newly designed systems allow pharmacies, assisted living facilities, prisons, hospitals, doctors’ offices, and alternative medicine clinics to help manage employee possession of sensitive drugs. In a retail environment typical in most alternative medicine clinics, the system also allows these clinics to document that the user is a registered patient and that the patient has a valid and unexpired authorization from a physician to possess and use the medicine dispensed. Each transaction is tracked internally for accounting and compliance purposes. Patient information is all kept securely onsite and is not online as the software is completely self-supportive and does not require an Internet connection. In alternative medicine clinics, the machine sits behind the counter and is at the control of the clinic employee as an inventory management and compliance tool.

Cannabis Science (CBIS) is a “penny stock,” which skyrocketed 55.15% to almost 8 cents per share (7.99 cents—to be exact) on Thursday. CBIS is a Colorado Springs-based company, which engages in the development, production, and commercialization of phytocannabinoid-based pharmaceutical products. It primarily focuses on developing medications to treat autism, blood pressure, cancer, and cancer side effects, HIV, and other illnesses, including general health maintenance. The company has a license agreement with Apothecary Genetics Investments LLC to produce various brand formulations for the California medical cannabis market.

A similarly-priced stock, GreenGro Technologies (GRNH) soared 67.95% on Thursday to 7.39 cents per share. This California-based company designs, manufactures, and markets green eco-friendly vertical (hydroponic) cultivation systems in the United States. It offers flux lighting products, table stands, nutrient mixers, home units, cloning systems, and tea brewers. The company also provides consulting and management services to its clients. (They probably don’t answer questions such as: “Dude! Where did I put the plant food?”) The company also markets lights, fans, hoods, automatic watering systems, and nutrients under the GreenGro brand.

Growlife (PHOT) jumped 31.85% to 19.91 cents per share on Thursday. Growlife sells LED lights for indoor growing; wireless monitoring, and control equipment to operate grow room functions; plant growing systems and accessories, nutrients, media, timers, controls, and automated water accessories. The company also produces club and theater shows, music tours, and festivals; owns and operates specialty hydroponics stores in Los Angeles and Cotai, California. The company also operates cannabis.org, an information portal for the medical marijuana industry.

Meanwhile, the original—Medical Marijuana, Incorporated (MJNA) —saw its share price climb 22.71% to 19.02 cents per share on Thursday. This San Diego-based company sells products, which range from patented and proprietary-based cannabinoid products to seed and stalk or isolated high value extracts manufactured and formulated for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and cosmeceutical (medical makeup?) industries. The company’s services include development of cannabinoid-based health and wellness products; and development of medical grade compounds; licensing of proprietary testing, genetics, labeling and packaging, tracking, production, and standardization methods for the medicinal herb industry.

Bottom line: As the legalized marijuana business took a giant step forward on Thursday, when recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado, stocks for companies involved in marijuana production and distribution were flying high. We might eventually see the day when there is an ETF, which is exclusively based on marijuana-related stocks.

By John Burke of Wall Street Sector Selector

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