Meanwhile, developments in the U.S. remain more convoluted. While some states have legalized marijuana, helping mom-and-pop shops crop up around the U.S., the federal government still holds marijuana as a “schedule 1” drug, or the same category as heroin. Consequently, handling any finances associated with marijuana is considered abetting.

While the big institutional money has been slow in getting through financial regulations to invest in the space, retail investors are already stepping up. Some have turned to cannabis-related ETFs such as the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSEArca: MJ), first U.S.-listed ETF to target the cannabis and marijuana industry, and AdvisorShares Vice ETF (NasdaqGM: ACT), which includes a smaller tilt toward the industry.

The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF includes a hefty tilt toward Canadian companies, along with a smaller position in U.S. companies.

While not solely targeting the cannabis industry, the AdvisorShares Vice ETF includes companies that derive at least 50% of their net revenue from the marijuana and hemp industry or have at least 50% of their company assets dedicated to lawful research and development of cannabis or cannabinoid-related products.

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