Chris Goldstein, writing for Philly.com, says he has seen a 45-page document that was sent to members and investors at Merrill Lynch, the investment arm of Bank of America, that outlines why the bank is being bullish on cannabis investments.
Goldstein describes the document.
Among the pages were extensive, basic information about cannabis and the cannabinoids THC and CBD. There was also a comprehensive outline on the patchwork of state medical cannabis laws. Further within the document there was an overview of the benefits for a long list of medical conditions, some public polling and then tantalizing information about publicly traded companies already operating in the sphere.
So far, banks in the United States - subject to federal laws regarding income from cannabis, a Schedule 1 restricted substance - have refused to accept growers, dispensaries, and other cannabis-related businesses as clients. Even licensed medical marijuana businesses don't have normal access to checking accounts, credit lines, and other basic banking systems necessary to grow and expand their businesses to meet demand.
It's not surprising, then, that the document from Merrill Lynch is still tepid about investing directly in businesses that touch the plant. Again, Goldstein describes what he read in the secret document.
The Merrill Lynch report did not in any way touch upon investing in any company that was directly in the business of growing, processing or selling marijuana products for medical or personal use under state laws. However, they did note that the cannabis market could be more than $7-billion annually already and could grow exponentially if legalization happened nationwide.
As the industry matures, and the sky doesn't fall in legal states, we will no doubt see more of the big investment firms and analysts weighing in on cannabis.