The Stealth Marijuana Play In Your ETF

January 30, 2018

Spoiler: It Probably Has Pot In it

Still, the presence of marijuana companies in these ETFs is mostly negligible, and I probably wouldn't have even considered writing this blog until I expanded my search to include the seven "marijuana related" companies I listed above. That's where the real surprise happens.

When you widen the search to include all 19 companies that MJX and/or ACT classify as marijuana-related in some way, the list of ETFs holding pot stocks balloons to 339. That's roughly 16% of all ETFs currently on the market, or one in six ETFs.

Interestingly, 19 of those ETFs have exposures of 5% or more:


The 19 ETFs With 5% Or More Weighting To Marijuana-Related Companies

Fund Ticker %
First Trust Nasdaq Pharmaceuticals ETF FTXH 15.88
PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals Portfolio PJP 10.08
Direxion Daily Pharmaceutical & Medical Bull 3X Shares PILL 9.95
iShares U.S. Medical Devices ETF IHI 9.42
VanEck Vectors Pharmaceutical ETF PPH 9.28
First Trust U.S. Equity Opportunities ETF FPX 8.81
ProShares UltraShort Health Care RXD 8.10
iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF IYH 8.09
Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund XLV 7.78
ProShares Ultra Health Care RXL 7.67
Vanguard Health Care ETF VHT 7.35
Fidelity MSCI Health Care Index ETF FHLC 7.34
Direxion Daily Healthcare Bear 3X Shares SICK 6.89
PowerShares Dynamic Biotechnology & Genome Portfolio PBE 5.98
IQ Canada Small Cap ETF CNDA 5.89
John Hancock Multifactor Healthcare ETF JHMH 5.79
iShares Global Healthcare ETF IXJ 5.70
Inspire 100 ETF BIBL 5.44
WBI Tactical LCY Shares WBIG 5.09

Sources: ETFdb,


Unsurprisingly, perhaps, 15 ETFs on this list track pharmaceuticals and biotech companies. The First Trust Nasdaq Pharmaceuticals ETF (FTXH) and the PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals Portfolio (PJP) have double-digit exposures to marijuana companies like AbbVie and Abbott Laboratories. (The Direxion Daily Pharmaceutical & Medical Bull 3X Shares (PILL) follows the same index as PJP, just with leverage.)

Given that medical marijuana is such big business, I'm not surprised to see so many health care companies on the list. One notable absence, however, is the ARK Genomic Revolution Multi-Sector ETF (ARKG), which invests in 35 biotech and pharmaceutical firms and is the second-best-performing nonleveraged health care stock over a one-year period.

The other thing that leaps out at me is the 5.44% weighting to marijuana in the Inspire 100 ETF (BIBL), which tracks U.S. large-caps that hew to "biblical values." The 5.44% comes entirely from AbbVie, BIBL's top holding (see Fig. 3).


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