A New Way to Bet on Legal Marijuana Hits the TSX

Article by Solomon Israel, CBC News

A new way to bet on legal marijuana hits the TSX Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF focuses on producers and drug companies

A marijuana-themed exchange traded fund — touted as the world’s first — launched on Wednesday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange, giving investors a new way to bet on legal marijuana stocks.

Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF, managed by the Canadian branch of Horizons ETFs Management, bundles 14 stocks related to the marijuana industry and makes them available as a single security.

Ten of the 14 stocks currently held in the fund are Canadian-based companies, most of which are licensed producers of legal medical marijuana (one of those, International Cannabis Corp., grows legal marijuana in Uruguay). Three are pharmaceutical companies based outside of Canada. U.S. fertilizer giant Scotts Miracle-Gro is also in the fund.

The passive exchange traded fund tracks most of the companies listed in the North American Medical Marijuana Index compiled by German indexing firm Solactive. The fund will be rebalanced quarterly, with no stock to be worth more than 10 per cent of the overall fund. The management fee is 0.75 per cent.

‘Expectations of future growth’

The fund is targeted at the “do-it-yourself investor,” said Steve Hawkins, president and co-CEO of Horizons ETFs Canada.

Hawkins described the potential investor as “somebody who’s interested investing into the marijuana industry [and] believes that there’s a growth story with the marijuana industry.” But that investor, he suggested, might also want to avoid the volatility that has been associated with Canadian marijuana stocks.

“If you’re invested in one company, you’re taking a lot more individual risk from an investor perspective,” said Hawkins, citing recent lawsuits against Canadian medical marijuana producers over the use of prohibited pesticides.

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