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First Marijuana Stock Index ETF Launches in Canada

As the Trump administration considers renegotiating the historic trade agreement with its North American neighbors, Canada is pushing ahead with a trade that places it well ahead of the United States: a first-of-its-kind exchange-traded fund that invests in medical marijuana stocks. Whether the pioneering effort is good for investors should spark debate.

For investors who believe that the marijuana market will be a booming sector, the Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (HMMJ), which starts selling on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday, offers a way to invest without taking on individual company risk. However, the ETF only holds a total of 14 stocks, and while billed as a global fund, 10 holdings are Canadian-based. The medical marijuana industry is more developed in Canada than in other nations, and cannabis could soon become legal for all Canadian adults.

While most of the limited number of stocks are producing pot for medical use, the ETF is also stretching its definition to get to 14 holdings. Three of the ETF’s 14 holdings aren’t pot growers. Insys Therapeutics and Zynerba Pharmaceuticals are biotech firms that are creating synthetic THC. [Read more at CNBC]

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