About four years ago, given the changes that were occurring in the cannabis industry, ETFMG and its partners thought it made sense to bring an investment product to market that could provide investors with exposure to the global movement to legalize cannabis. As the global market grew, we worked on creating an investment objective that would provide investors with exposure to the full industry – not just to companies that were fully and directly involved in the cannabis industry. We aimed to create a mandate that was broad and flexible enough to capture the full ecosystem and spectrum of opportunities that would occur as the industry matured and expanded over time. Finally, in late 2017, we had identified a large enough investible universe of companies to create a fund, which led to the creation of the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (“MJ”).

The below highlights 20 top moments in cannabis innovation since the inception of MJ on 12/03/15.

  1. 1. In January 2020, legal cannabis became the fastest-growing industry in America with over 243,700 jobs.

2. Just two months into adult-use cannabis legalization in Illinois, dispensaries are selling more than a million dollars of legal cannabis – per day.

3. Until early 2020, an initial positive drug test for THC could result in suspension for NFL players. New rules will no longer penalize players for cannabis use.

4. In June 2018, the FDA approved the first cannabis derived medicine, Epidiolex, to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. In April 2020, the DEA announced that Epidiolex is no longer subject to Controlled Substance Act requirements. 

5. Tilray, a constituent within MJ, became the first pure-play cannabis company to go public on a major exchange in July 2018.

6. Global cannabis sales rose 48% to $15B in 2019 – bigger than the entire legal cannabis market was in 2015.

7. Based on evidence from animal and human studies, World Health Organization recommended that CBD not be considered a controlled substance and not be subject to international drug treaties.

8. Constituent in MJ, Canopy Growth Corporation, became the first cannabis stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

9. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, cannabis is deemed an “essential business” in 28 states.

10. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced CBD based drugs with THC levels below 0.1% would be considered a Schedule 5 drug. It was the first time the agency lowered any type of cannabis from Schedule 1.

11. Colorado has now generated more than $1B in total state revenue from the legal marijuana industry, another milestone for the state that legalized cannabis in 2014.

12. The U.S. House took a step toward validation of cannabis with the SAFE Banking Act. The bill prevents the government from taking action against banks, insurers and landlords that provide cannabis services.

13. Constituent within MJ, Altria, one of the oldest and largest tobacco companies worldwide, announced their intent to purchase a $2.4B or 45% stake in Cronos Group, opening the door for investment in cannabis by Big Tobacco.

14. In December 2018, the U.S. passed the Farm Bill, establishing a new federal hemp regulatory system under the United States Department of Agriculture, which aims to facilitate the commercial cultivation, processing and marketing of hemp.

15. In October 2018, Canada became the second country to legalize recreational cannabis on a national level, only one country behind Uruguay.

16. In August 2019, Constellation Brands invested $4B into Canopy Growth Corporation as beverage industry leaders look to expand to new markets, completing the largest equity investment in a cannabis company.

17. If enacted into law, the MORE Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs.

18. In September 2019, the U.S. government allocated $3M for research to find if cannabis can relieve pain, specifically working with CBD.

19. To date, legal cannabis laws have been enacted in 33 states, with 11 permitting the adult-use of cannabis for those over 21 years old.

20. Aurora Cannabis and the UFC, joined forces to advance CBD research, education and product development, a few months after ETFMG announced its official sponsorship of Aleksei Oleinik.

Carefully consider the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses before investing. This and other information can be found in the Fund’s summary or statutory prospectuses, available on www.etfmg.com. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.

Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. Shares of any ETF are bought and sold at market price (not NAV), may trade at a discount or premium to NAV and are not individually redeemed from the Fund. Brokerage commissions will reduce returns. Narrowly focused investments typically exhibit higher volatility. The possession and use of marijuana, even for medical purposes, is illegal under federal and certain states’ laws, which may negatively impact the value of the Fund’s investments. Use of marijuana is regulated by both the federal government and state governments, and state and federal laws regarding marijuana often conflict. Even in those states in which the use of marijuana has been legalized, its possession and use remains a violation of federal law. Federal law criminalizing the use of marijuana pre-empts state laws that legalizes its use for medicinal and recreational purposes. Cannabis companies and pharmaceutical companies may never be able to legally produce and sell products in the United States or other national or local jurisdictions.

The Fund is distributed by ETFMG Financial LLC.

Author Portrait