Can cannabis light up again?


U.S. consumers’ appetite for legal marijuana products continued to climb last year, even as prices for most cannabis stocks plunged. Cannabis sales in the U.S. surged 23% in 2019 to about $12 billion, according to Canaccord Genuity. The firm projects sales will hit nearly $30 billion by 2024. Among the reasons for the rosy outlook: Sales in Illinois, where adult cannabis became legal just last month, have been stronger than expected at more than $40 million. And at least 15 states are expected to put ballot initiatives before voters this fall related to legalizing cannabis, which could broaden the market, Canaccord Genuity analyst Bobby Burleson wrote in a research note this month. Meanwhile, Massachusetts-based Curaleaf Holdings and Chicago-based Cresco Labs have each closed on acquisitions in recent weeks. Several big cannabis company mergers stalled last year under regulatory review, contributing to 2019’s sharp sell-off in marijuana stocks. “We believe the underperformance for stocks last year presents an opportunity for investors at current levels,” Burleson wrote.