Cannabis Central: How Much Of A Pure Play Is The Pure Cannabis ETF? -
Wednesday , 28 October 2020

Cannabis Central: How Much Of A Pure Play Is The Pure Cannabis ETF?

The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF debuted this past May as an actively “pure” fund of 28 constituents. Just how pure are the constituents?


  • is actively managed
  • has an expense ratio of 0.74%,
  • holds $59.89M in assets under management (AUM)
  • has an average beta of 3.2.
Holdings (as of: Aug 16, 2019)
Cash Component 17.58%
1. Innovative Industrial Properties Inc (

  • a REIT engaged in the acquisition, ownership & management of industrial properties leased to state-licensed operators for their regulated medical-use cannabis facilities
  • Mkt. Cap: $1.1B; Beta: 2.0
2.  Village Farms International Inc. (TSX:VFF; Nasdaq:VFF)

  •  owns and operates agricultural greenhouse facilities exporting its products exclusively to the U. S.
  • Market Cap: $741.0M; Beta: 3.8
3. Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. (TSX:CWEB; OTCQX:CWBHF)

  • a producer and distributor of hemp-based CBD products for the U.S. market
  •  Mkt. Cap: $871.4M; Beta: 2.9
4. OrganiGram Holdings Inc. (TSXV:OGI, NASDAQ:OGI)

  • focuses on producing indoor-grown cannabis for medical and recreational use consumers and developing global business partnerships
  • Mkt. Cap: $1.4B; Beta: 9.7
5. Hexo Corp. (TSX:HEXO; NYSE:HEXO)

  • creates and distributes innovative recreational-use products under the HEXO brand and medical cannabis under the Hydropothecary brand
  • Market Cap: $1.6B; Beta: 4.0
6. Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (TSX:NEPT)

  • a health and wellness products company engaged in extraction, purification, and formulation of value-added products for both recreational and pet nutrition use
  •  Market Cap: $470.0M; Beta: 1.5
7. Cara Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq:

  • an emerging biotechnology company involved in the development of novel therapeutics to treat human diseases associated with inflammation, pain, and pruritus
  • Market Cap: $1.0B; Beta: 2.2
8. Aphria Inc. (TSX:APHA; NYSE:APHA)

  • produces and sells medical marijuana and its derivatives through retail sales and wholesale channels
  • Market Cap: $2.2B; Beta: 2.7
9. Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED; NYSE:CGC)

  • cultivates and sells medicinal & recreational cannabis, and hemp with distribution and production licenses in more than a dozen countries
  •  Market Cap: $18.5B; Beta: 4.1   
10. Aleafia Health Inc. (TSX:ALEF, OTCQX:ALEAF)

  • a vertically integrated cannabis health and wellness company operating 3 product and cultivation facilities and a national network of medical cannabis clinics
  • Mkt. Cap: $304.7M; Beta: 3.3
11. Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc. (

  • a pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing synthetic cannabinoid therapeutics formulated for transdermal delivery
  •   Mkt. Cap: $227.6M; Beta: 4.9;
12. Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq:ARNA)

  • a biotechnology company targeting G-protein-coupled receptor
  •  Mkt. Cap: $3.1B; Beta: 1.4
13. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB; NYSE:ACB)

  • cultivates and sells medicinal and recreational cannabis in more than 20 countries through medical cannabis exporting agreements or cultivation facilities
  • Market Cap: $10.0B; Beta: 1.6

  • a licensed producer and distributor of medical cannabis focused on providing medicine to the long-term care and assisted living markets in Canada
  •  Mkt. Cap: $172.9M; Beta: 3.1
15. Tilray, Inc. (Nasdaq:TLRY)

  • cultivates and sells medical and recreational cannabis in Canada; sells CBD products in the U.S.; exports medical cannabis globally from its production facilities in Canada and Portugal[ and has a partnership with AB InBev to develop cannabis-infused drinks
  •  Mkt. Cap: $4.1B; Beta: 4.2
16. The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX:TGOD, OTCQX:TGODF)

  • a cannabinoid-based research & development company in Canada that produces and distributes cannabis and hemp-related products for medical applications
  •  Mkt. Cap: $913.7M; Beta: 5.0
17.  Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (

  • a globally diversified portfolio of 7 distinct cannabis companies, products and brands
  • Mkt. Cap: $424.5M; Beta: 4.0
18. Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc. (

  • a Phase 3 clinical-stage pharmaceutical company
  • Mkt. Cap: $395.1M; Beta: 1.8
19. Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc. (TSXV:EMH, OTCQX:EMHTF)

  •  a vertically integrated Canadian licensed producer focused on developing proprietary cannabis products for medical and adult-use customers
  •  Mkt. Cap: $333.1M; Beta: 1.8
20. Canopy Rivers Inc. (

  • a venture capital company that pursues investment opportunities in the cannabis sector via royalties, joint ventures, secured debt and other equity/equity-linked instruments
  • Mkt. Cap: $166.7M; Beta: 4.5
21. Khiron Life Sciences Corp. (TSXV:KHRN, OTCQB:KHRNF)

  • involved in cultivating, producing, and distributing THC and CBD medicinal extracts
  • Mkt. Cap: $241.9M; Beta: 4.5
22. Medipharm Labs Corp. (

  •  produces purified, pharmaceutical-grade cannabis oil and concentrates
  • Market Cap: $778M; Beta: -0.66
23. CannTrust Holdings Inc. (

  • engaged in the business of producing and distributing medical cannabis in Canada
  • Market Cap: $502.6M; Beta: 4.4
24. cbdMD Inc. (NYSE American:

  • markets its hemp-based CBD brand, cbdMD through an e-commerce website, wholesalers and a variety of brick and mortar retailers in the U.S..
  • Market Cap: $118.4M; Beta: -0.68
25. Greenlane Holdings Inc. (

  •  a distributor of vaporizers & parts, cleaning products, grinders & storage containers, pipes, rolling papers and customized lines of premium specialty packaging in the U.S.
  • Mkt. Cap: $317.1M; Beta: -1.9
26. Cardiol Therapeutics Inc. (TSX:

  • is developing unique expertise in the production of pharmaceutical cannabinoids in support of its nanotherapeutics program in heart failure
  • Market Cap: $107M; Beta: 5.9
27. Intec Pharma Ltd. (

  • a clinical stage bio-pharmaceutical company based in Israel
  • Mkt. Cap: $18.7M; Beta:?

Summary of ETF Makeup

  • Asset Allocation
    • Common Equity (82%)
    • Cash Component (18%)
  • Sector Breakdown
    • Cultivation/Extraction (55.55%)
    • Cash Component (17.58%)
    • Bio-Pharmaceutical (14.04%)
    • Real Estate (6.44%)
    • Consumer, Non-Cyclical (4.12%)
  • Market Cap Breakdown
    • Micro cap (55%)
    • Cash Component (18%)
    • Small cap (15%)
    • Mid cap (12%)
  • Country Breakdown
    • Canada (53%)
    • United States (47%)

Stock Performance

As can be seen in the chart below The Cannabis ETF has had a rocky start since its launch on May 1st of this year. It is down 22.7% since inception and down 8.4% alone since August 13th.


It is my contention that this ETF is anything but a pure play in the cannabis sector given its preponderance of  bio-pharmaceutical companies (6), distributors (3), a REIT (1) and a venture capital company (1) representing 26.87% weighting in the ETF and the current 17.58% currently in cash. That leaves only 55.55% operating in the growing, production, extraction and sale of cannabis.