+ 2.58
+ 0.78%
+ 2.29
+ 0.66%
+ 2.93
+ 0.7%
+ 1.55
+ 0.91%

Cannabis: Seven Avoidable Investment Mistakes

May 20, 2019 12:41 pm
Share to Linkedin Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Print License More
Cannabis: Seven Avoidable Investment Mistakes

It is likely that Cannabis will prove to be the best performing asset class over the next decade. While this provides a rare wealth-creation opportunity, the road to maturity for this emerging market is also unusually impacted by legislation, taxation, regulation and margin normalization across every investable sector. Hemp will prove to be a major contribution to farmer livelihood as well as industrial and economic output, with the Cannabis complex likely a trillion-dollar market in the making. 

Cannabis is poised to impact every vertical in the economy, following a path similar in some ways to the one technology took when it went from being a sector to becoming an undeniable part of every sector. Despite similarities, the cannabis opportunity is also unprecedented, and many fortunes will be made and lost as the ‘rebirth of cannabis’ history books are written over the next decade. Lessons from previous cycles can serve as a useful guide towards better decisions for the informed investor.

Mazakali is hosting a "Cannabis Bootcamp" at the CWCB Expo in New York City on May 31st. "Designed for family offices, hedge fund managers, RIAs and experienced high-net-worth investors, this exclusive symposium is a ‘how-to’ bootcamp on investing in cannabis, presented by Wall Street investors/advisors for Wall Street investors/advisors." Get your passes following this link.

Below are the top mistakes investors make in Cannabis, as well as ways for the savvy investor to avoid them:


By definition, highly experienced cannabis operators have worked in unlicensed, unregulated and illegal environments. You invest in management teams when you invest in companies, and it is paramount that trust is based on claim verification.

It is important to conduct background checks on any beneficial owners of your investment target and also ensure that any prior cannabis convictions don’t disqualify the business from obtaining necessary licensure.


Public cannabis markets exhibit high volatility and generous valuations. Private market data is difficult to access and aggregate, while the abundance of non-cash transactions further complicates value assessment. 

Optimistic expectations on conservative assumptions are an advisable combination when determining potential investment return. The tendency to overpay is strong and often punished by volatility driven emotion. 


Banking remains an issue for the industry. The lack of available banking options encourages questionable accounting practices which can have an adverse impact on recorded corporate value. 

Look for third party audits on at least two years of historical company statements. Ask for tax returns and be wary of companies that are reticent to provide them.  

Federal illegality has an impact on the inherent risk to any cannabis investor.

Ensure that expected returns compensate for this additional risk not present in federally legal investment opportunities.

A government license is required to operate in every plant-touching sector of the cannabis supply chain. 

It is critical to engage counsel to ensure legal ownership of the licenses necessary to conduct cannabis business.

Water-Cooler Advice 

Investment excitement combined with advertising restrictions means a large amount of word-of-mouth information sharing, a channel that often results in compromised information accuracy. 

There is thus an active grass-roots movement to raise capital, and investors are well served to create an effective barrier between excitement driven by social pressure and investment based on sound diligence. Hiring an experienced cannabis investment professional is advisable in this industry. 


Cannabis pricing declines are rampant in every legal market as supply shortages get addressed by conformant participants. While many companies are working to mitigate the effects of this decline by addressing cost and yield optimization, others that use cannabis as a raw material are benefiting from this price decline. 

Investors can adequately hedge their portfolios against price deterioration by seeking those companies with relative shelf price inelasticity that see margin benefit rather than revenue impact. 


Consolidation results from emerging markets moving from fragmentation towards oligopolistic structures, and this often has a negative impact on concentrated portfolios. Dynamic cannabis market eco-systems often defy rational market behavior as global regulations impact trade across the supply chain. While diversification is important to portfolio construction, the need for this basic Wall Street tenet is magnified in the cannabis industry. 

It is important to be adequately diversified across sectors, geographies and legalities when investing in cannabis.

Granular supply chain margin analysis is an essential precursor to alpha generation. Tactical tilts help normalize portfolio margins while diversification serves as a hedge against unpredictable regulation. While an optimally constructed portfolio continues to be driven by core investment tenets, fragmented legislation can impact the best-laid plans. Industry opacity makes informed investment decisions difficult, and investors are well served to understand the various moving parts prior to capital deployment.

Stigma Precedes Opportunity; Arithmetic Supersedes Optimism

Related Articles

How To Invest In Private Cannabis Companies

The cannabis industry has long been compared to alcohol, gambling, Chinese herbal medicine and the internet boom. read more

Video: Benzinga Cannabis Insider 4/23 | ETFs, Michigan Market, Verano, Tilray, GrowGen & More!

Benzinga’s Cannabis Insider is a live daily show for cannabis investors. read more

No Reefer Madness Here: 5 Cannabis-Focused Stocks For The 420 Trader

Investors looking to take their portfolios one toke over the line may wish to consider taking a look – preferably sober and without the narcotizing stimulation from the celebrated wacky weed – at the following quintet of cannabis industry-focused stocks. read more

'Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on decriminalizing marijuana: "I support decriminalization at the federal level, and we'll be introducing legislation with a few of my colleagues shortly.'' -Earlier ABC News Politics Tweet

https://twitter.com/ABCPolitics/status/1377280709686091779?s=20 read more