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Cannabis stock has seen "amazing performance," one investor told CNBC's Street Signs.
Juan Sartori, president and founder of investment firm Union Group, described cannabis production as a "professionalized industry that's becoming a real big market."
Sartori has invested in Uruguay's International Cannabis Corporation (ICC) for nearly two years. ICC is the world's first producer of state-commissioned cannabis for recreational use, and is listed in Toronto. It plans to offer a competitive cost per gram of its product – a quarter of that of its North American rivals. ICC will begin exporting its product by the end of this year.
"Public opinion has completely changed on the subject," Sartori argued. He claimed that "every single poll all around the world is showing that people now are in favor of relaxation or legalization," which would pique lawmakers' attention. He added that, "we have seen the U.S. and Canada leading the way," suggesting that many more places around the world could follow suit.
Regarding the process of a country making cannabis legal, Sartori said that the "first stage is always medical legalization, then the second, larger step is the recreational one, and the last one is production." Medicinal cannabis is understood to be the largest growth area of industry. Sartori said that Germany and the U.K. have "legalized the use of cannabinoids, which is the extract that has a lot of health benefits."
More than half of the U.S.' states have legalized cannabis for medicinal use, with eight of these and the District of Columbia also permitting recreational use. Canada plans to introduce legislation to permit the drug for both medicinal and recreational use this year, with countries including Germany, Ireland and Mexico taking steps to approve its medicinal use.
Sartori explained that Uruguay was the first country to begin relaxing laws on cannabis. "Product that was illegal, but was a big market, has become a standard one," Sartori said, comparing cannabis' growth to the U.S.' lifting of its prohibition on alcohol. There has been a "big change in regulation that generates overnight a huge market," he said.
Sartori claimed the industry was worth "more than $6 billion in combined market cap," and that cannabis was "one of the best performing stocks all around the world regardless of industries," adding that most trading took place in Canada.
"It's a big industry that is just starting, and with an interesting future," Sartori said. The "growth of the (cannabis) industry isn't like anything else," he added.
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