SAN JOSE, Calif. – It’s something we say a lot here.
“Only in California.”
In this case, it was a former federal bureaucrat being given “rock star” treatment.
And I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t been there to witness it.
I was at the Cannabis Business Summit & Expo in San Jose, Calif., on July 26, finishing up watching the keynote address from James M. Cole – the then-deputy U.S. attorney general who authored the 2013 “Cole Memo” shielding states with legalized marijuana from federal intervention.
I’ve spoken with Cole before – so I approached the stage hoping to shake hands, catch up, and maybe make plans for a later meetup.
However, everyone else at the McEnery Convention Center had similar plans.
Hundreds of folks rushed the stage – but summit organizers quickly pulled out their walkie-talkies, surrounded Cole, and rushed him out of the building as if he was Mick Jagger.
Sure, I was a bit disappointed – but I also had to laugh.
It was yet another example of the amount of excitement surrounding the legal cannabis industry.
And like so many of the legal weed’s time-line events, I was there to witness it.
In today’s report, I’ll tell you what else I saw at the summit.
And now that we’re apparently at the “rock star” stage of legal cannabis’ lifespan, I’ll give you my top three pot stocks to get you started.
If you think the tech economy is slowing down, try to rent a home or apartment in San Francisco.
According to a new report from the real estate experts at Nested, the city now has the highest rents around. Not just in the United States – but in the entire world.
It’s no doubt largely due to the fact that the tech boom in SF and Silicon Valley is running at full speed, leaving the city with a vacancy rate below 3%.
Nested based its results not on average rents but on the price people pay per square foot. In San Francisco, renters pay $4.75, the highest among more than 100 cities around the world the agency studied.
While San Francisco lies in the epicenter of the tech sector, it’s not the only city with soaring rents.
Not surprisingly, Wall Street is getting in on the act. The number of financier-owned rental properties in the United States jumped 60% last year.
You can get in on this act, too.
You see, Wall Street needs data – a lot of data – to help them make their real estate investing decisions.
They’re paying top dollar for that data – and most of them are buying it from the tech company I want to tell you about today.
When the history of the legal cannabis revolution is written, you can bet James M. Cole will be in there.
If you haven’t figured it out already, Cole is the then-deputy U.S. attorney general who authored the 2013 federal memo shielding states with legalized marijuana from federal intervention.
This was the milestone cannabis companies and their supporters had been waiting for. After all, cannabis remains illegal under U.S. statutes.
The “Cole memo” is cited all the time for a very big reason – it was a signature event that helped the burgeoning legal cannabis industry move into the mainstream.
His name became even better known early this year after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions nixed the Cole memo – essentially shifting federal policy from a hands-off approach to unleashing federal prosecutors across the country to decide whether to crack down on legal marijuana.
So, I’m glad I got the chance to chat personally with Cole regarding his views on the legal cannabis market in advance of his keynote speech next week to a major marijuana conference in Silicon Valley.
I asked Cole about Sessions’ action – and a whole lot more.
Imagine if your neighborhood bank wouldn’t deal with you.
In fact, imagine if all banks refused your deposits.
Instead of depositing your paycheck at Main Street Community Bank or MegaFinance Corp., you’d have to stuff it in your mattress or keep it in a box in your closet.
That’s counterproductive – and extremely unsafe.
But many cannabis companies face that exact situation.
Thanks to the prohibition of cannabis at the federal level, most banks simply won’t deal with companies that “touch the plant” – even if marijuana is fully legal in their state. Those banks fear they could face money-laundering charges, or worse.
But something truly extraordinary, even unprecedented, could be about to unfold in California.
Some legislators in the Golden State – where cannabis went fully legal back on Jan. 1 – have put forward a proposal that would have the state creatingits own special banks to handle the business of cannabis firms.
This is a huge development.
And if it passes, it could mean entirely new ways to invest in the high-profit weed sector.
On Saturday, maybe you’re planning to go for a run, watch some cartoons, or make your family a nice breakfast.
For me, I’ll be up bright and early, as I am each Saturday, looking for more profit opportunities for you in the tech world. And this Saturday in particular, I’ll be checking out the latest initial public offerings.
Let me explain…
It’s rare that I don’t start working by 7:15 a.m. on Saturdays. It’s a great time to look at tech trends and screen a host of stocks when there’s no noise from the market.
And every Saturday, I try to update my list of new tech stocks.
After spending 34 years in Silicon Valley and serving as a strategic consultant to a dozen startups, tracking IPOs comes naturally to me.
I want to see if any of my “babies” have graduated.
So, I get the names of newly public tech and life sciences stocks and put them on my post-IPO tracking screen. On Saturday, July 7, alone, I had to input 28 new stocks into my online database.
I didn’t spend much time doing that in 2017, a weak year for IPOs.
But this year, this market is on fire… and my Saturday mornings are busier.
Led by the successful IPOs of tech firms like Dropbox Inc. (Nasdaq: DBX) in March, and Spotify Technology SA (Nasdaq: SPOT) in April, tech IPOs are up 92% from last year, according to a report in TechCrunch.
This turn of events is crucial for technology investors like us.
Amid trade-war fears and other scares, we saw a 10% correction.
While it hasn’t been all blue skies since then – those trade-war fears are still with us, after all – the overall stock market fared pretty well in the April-to-June period. The S&P 500 rose a respectable 2.9% and is on pace to finish the year in the green.