Source: By Benzinga on March 20, 2014

Marijuana has seen an increase in cultural acceptance recently, as well as grabbing the attention of medical professionals and the U.S. government.

The reach has even started making waves in the markets.

“It’s drawing in people who have never invested and sometimes drawing back people who swore off trading after the last two crashes,” Alan Brochstein told Benzinga.

Brochstein said that in his experience covering marijuana stocks, people investing in these stocks are passionate even if they’re not consumers of the drug. As of January 2014, he believes there’s about 100,000 people investing in marijuana stocks.

“I don’t know what’s driving it. [About a year ago] there was a lot of interest in Seeking Alpha and iHub,” said Brochstein. “Like anything where people start to make money, people give it attention. What’s different [with marijuana trading] is the passion that goes with it, an emotional commitment. ‘I believe in something and I can make money.'”

Related: Marijuana Economy Has Plenty Of Room To Grow

The endeavor is not without risk, however.

Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states, while recreational is legal in just Colorado (Washington will soon join). There are big companies bringing in major dollars, but most stocks themselves are still over-the-counter (OTC).

OpenVape (OTC: every 30 seconds.

OpenVape Spokesman and Chief Revenue Officer Todd Mitchem told CNBC he’s hopeful the company will be worth one billion dollars within the next two years, which Brochstein agreed could happen. But, the industry is still more-or-less in its infancy.

Aventura Equities (OTC: AVNE) was halted in early March 2014 by the SEC, which had questions concerning the adequacy and accuracy of publicly available information.

The stock for Aventura, which holds marijuana-related intellectual property and licensing rights to a number of products currently sold by third parties in the California medical marijuana market, was down 85 percent on March 19.

Businessmen, traders, investors and consumers should sill tread lightly. “What companies are real or not,” asked Brochstein. “Like Warren Buffett said – you never know who’s swimming naked until the tide goes out.”

New Guard And Old Guard Come Together

The 420 Investor said he hadn’t touched marijuana in over 25 years, until a recent trip to Colorado. He thinks people in their 40s, 50s and older might be amazed by the developments of the plant itself (how it’s grown, treated, etc.) and the way it can be consumed.

“A lot of people like me tried it in college, then at some point had to stop (family, job screens, etc.),” said Brochstein. “Now they’re older. The moves are changing. Some baby boomers will come back — it’s a simple and healthier process nowadays.”

Brochstein has nearly 70,000 followers on Seeking Alpha, most of anyone on the site. His Marketfy product has gained over 1,000 subscribers since September 2013. One subscriber said that they turned $42 (the cost of the product) into $8,000 in one month.

In a recent survey completed by 327 subscribers, over 30 percent said they were ‘novice’ investors, while less than 20 percent said they were ‘very experienced’ or ‘professional.’ About a combined 33 percent were younger than 29 and older than 59 years old.

More than 17 percent of respondents said that haven’t used marijuana in over a decade.

“People get galvanized by this idea that this is people’s fundamental right. You can be excited without being a user.”

This is one of a series of pieces with comments from leading industry analyst and 420 Investor Alan Brochstein. Check Benzinga for others news and insight into the marijuana industry.

© 2014 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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