Article originally appeared in The Motley Fool. by Keith Speights

There’s also some great news, though, if you’re willing to invest in individual marijuana stocks rather than ETFs: Several marijuana stocks handily outperformed both the Horizons and ETFMG ETFs. I think there are three such stocks that trounced these ETFs and are likely to do it again in 2019: Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON), CV Sciences (NASDAQOTH:CVSI), and MariMed (NASDAQOTH:MRMD).

Repeat performances?

Can CV Sciences, MariMed, and Cronos Group beat the top two marijuana ETFs again in 2019? I think so.

For one thing, I haven’t been a fan of these ETFs for several reasons. They have high fees that put them at an immediate disadvantage to buying individual stocks. They’re heavily weighted with marijuana stocks that already have very high valuations. My biggest knock against them, though, is that they aren’t invested much in the U.S., which is the biggest marijuana market of all.

This last point is a key factor in why I think CV Sciences and MariMed will likely outperform the marijuana ETFs for a second consecutive year. CV Sciences should benefit from U.S. legalization of hemp. Cannabis market research company Brightfield Group thinks this legalization is a game-changer and could propel the U.S. hemp-based CBD market to $22 billion by 2022.

MariMed will probably be a winner from U.S. hemp legalization as well. It has invested in hemp-based CBD company GenCanna. But MariMed also should enjoy growth from the expanding medical marijuana market in the United States. The company already operates in six states and could move into more states in the near future.

That leaves Cronos Group. The company hasn’t officially announced any plans to enter the U.S. hemp-based CBD market, although that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t do so. Cronos Group is well positioned to prosper as the Canadian recreational marijuana market takes off in 2019, particularly with the anticipated finalization of regulations later in the year for cannabis edibles and concentrates. I suspect that Cronos’ connection with Altria could begin to pay off this year also.

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