The cannabis industry registered US$1.23 billion in investments during January alone, according to Viridian Cannabis Deal Tracker – almost the total amount of money invested in the industry throughout 2016, which was US$1.29 billion.
Compared to the first five weeks of 2017, this year's investments represent nearly 600 percent growth.
Viridian Capital Advisors' Vice President Harrison Phillips told Benzinga: "We are seeing a steady maturation of the capital markets around the cannabis industry… Early on, it was almost entirely high net worth individuals – and maybe a few family offices – investing in the cannabis space. Now, we are seeing more family offices getting involved, more high net worth individuals, more professional investors getting involved."
Of the five largest capital raises, four are related to Canadian companies which produce and distribute medical marijuana and an equity firm based in Seattle, in the United States, which invests in the legal cannabis industry worldwide.
In Canada, regulated medicinal marijuana became legal in 2001 and recreational use is on the verge of being legalized after legislation was passed by the federal House of Commons in November 2017. It still requires Senate approval.
In the United States, at federal level, the use, sale and possession of cannabis is still illegal, but currently nine states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Main, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington) have legalized sale and possession for both medical and recreational use.
Opposition to legalizing marijuana at a federal level in the United States has generated negative effects for the industry in countries such as Uruguay, where banks have closed accounts of pharmacies that sell medicinal marijuana over fears it would affect their relations with U.S. banks.