New York City-based mega-bank Goldman Sachs Group disclosed that it recently added a stake in the $1.2 billion cannabis-focused ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF. While investment banks like Canacord Genuity and Cowen have been deeply involved in the cannabis industry since its early days of legality, many firms like Goldman Sachs have been hesitant to dive in due to the federal illegality of marijuana in the United States. This marks a huge turning point in sentiment towards the marijuana sector for Goldman.
Prior to this, the closest the bank has come to the industry was advising Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) on its multi-billion dollar investment in Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE:CGC) in August 2018 and its participation in the $350-million raise for GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH) in October 2018. Even as recently as February of this year, Goldman Sachs’ lead beverages and tobacco analyst Judy Hong wasn’t able to perform cannabis-related investment research on KushCo Holdings (OTC:KSHB) due to the firm’s firewall restrictions.
Now, with its $1.68 million dip into the cannabis waters, it seems like the 150-year old firm may finally be changing its tune. With a stake in MJ, that means exposure to a long list of cannabis stocks including Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB), Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON), Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY) and more.
With an estimated over $330 billion in managed securities under management as of the recent filing, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s recent purchase of 51,536 shares of MJ amounts to just a drop in the bucket for the Goliath. That being said, it is always a bullish signal that institutions like Goldman Sachs are getting involved in cannabis investments.
Now, it seems as if those corporations, financial institutions, governments, and individuals can finally access the cannabis-related investments that have largely outperformed the S&P 500 this year. Since January 1st, the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF is up over 30%.
It should be noted that Canopy Growth, GW Pharma, and all of the underlying holdings of the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF operate in full federal compliance within their respective jurisdictions. It’ll be a long time before we see Goldman getting involved with multi-state US operators like Acreage Holdings (OTC:ACRGF), as their businesses are still illegal according to the Feds.