Although the majority of U.S.-based cannabis companies and many foreign American Depository Receipts (ADRs) trade over-the-counter, a few marijuana companies are traded on the NASDAQ. Some investors prefer stocks that are listed on the NASDAQ to other exchanges due to their increased liquidity and tighter spreads compared to the over-the-counter (OTC) markets. For example, as the cannabis industry has grown in recent months and years, uplisting from an OTC market to a reputable U.S. exchange has become a banner achievement for many rising marijuana companies.
The NASDAQ was the first electronic exchange and has long been synonymous with technology and biotechnology. The cannabis companies on the NASDAQ reflect this, and the majority of them operate in the biotech area of the industry.
Here are a few of the top performing NASDAQ-listed marijuana stocks
Cronos Group Inc. is a Canadian cannabis company. The group owns and seeks cannabis-related subsidiaries and licensed producers. In December of 2018, Marlboro maker Altria announced plans to invest $1.8 billion in Cronos. The investment has provided Cronos not only with additional cash to finance its continued expansion, but also with a well-established partner experienced in the marketing of consumer brands.
GW Pharmaceuticals is developing a portfolio of cannabinoid medicines. These medicines include Sativex for the treatment of spasticity related to multiple sclerosis and cancer pain and Epidiolex for the treatment of childhood epilepsy. Sativex is commercialized in more than a dozen countries outside the United States and has received regulatory approval in several other countries. Epidiolex received FDA approval as a treatment for Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, two forms of severe, early onset epilepsy without good existing treatment options. Other indications show that GW Pharmaceuticals is developing cannabinoid products for autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and glioma.
Tilray Inc. was the first marijuana-related company to have an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S. The Nanaimo, Vancouver Island-based company focuses on medical cannabis products.
Intec Pharma is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that is developing drugs based on its proprietary Accordion Pill technology. Intec's product pipeline includes cannabinoid-based drugs for lower back pain and fibromyalgia.
Village Farms International is the most recent cannabis stock to begin trading on the NASDAQ. The company's shares became available for trade on February 21, 2019. The company has a decades-long history in greenhouse produce production and has only recently shifted some of its focus toward cannabis production.