There is a lot of debate over cannabis. Is it harmless? Does it have medicinal uses? Is it a gateway drug that leads to heroin faster than Oxycontin? What isn't up for debate, however, is the fact that it is an investment option. Sure, it's risky since cannabis is still illegal at the federal level and in most states, but there are ways to invest in it legally AND while on an unskilled laborer's wages.
Let's say you're a restaurant dishwasher. You make $8.50 an hour, and your hours are consistent. You are on a tight budget because you're an unskilled laborer, but you manage to put aside $10 every week through a combination of eating at work, drinking coffee at home, and generally pinching pennies whenever possible. There are three ways to take this green and invest in the green stuff; here's how:
Investing in Cannabis Related Businesses
1) Download and use the Stash app.
If you're lucky, you can find a code (try ThePennyHoarder.com) to give you $5 to invest for free. You can set up a profile, then make a one-time deposit or set up a weekly withdrawal. The app takes your money and invests it in exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, which are the love child of index funds and stocks; they're basically a group of securities that aim to match the market, so when the market goes up, so does your portfolio. Of course, the flip side is also true; in just 120 seconds, less time than it takes to clean a bowl, you can be set up and ready to choose where your cash goes. To invest in cannabis, select the Corporate Cannabis ETF. One nice thing about ETFs, like stocks, they include dividends, which is basically free money every so often that you can then invest or cash out. There is a monthly fee of $1 for all accounts under $5,000; that's less than the cost of most munchies.
2) Use WiseBanyan.com.
There are ways to get free money from this site, but they're extremely complicated. You can set up your account easily, but this one typically takes money once a month. Fortunately, you can set a safety measure that prevents it from taking money out of your bank account if it would bring the balance below a certain level. Like Stash, WiseBanyan has a Cannabis ETF. You can sign up for that by going to the “Packages” section on the website, then choosing the Legalize It ETF. The management fees are negligible but vary depending on how many features you use.
This one requires some homework; you have to know what cannabis stocks are being publicly traded and their stock ticker designations (examples include “MJ” and “YOLO”). But after that, you're home free. And speaking of free, that's what Robinhood is: the app allows you to invest in the stock market without paying a broker's fee. There's an old German proverb that says, “Take care of the pfennings and the farthings will take care of themselves.” Every dollar you don't spend on trading fees is a dollar to invest.
This is not to say that cannabis investment is a good idea or that it will make you insanely rich. Like any investment, you run the risk of losing your principal (the money you invested, not the high school bureaucrat with zero chill). But if you want to invest in cannabis because it's something you believe in, something you think will go big, or both, this is how to do it. Like any investment, you should do your research first; your local public library will have several books on investing, and The Motley Fool, while notorious for clickbait, offers relatively up-to-date information on the cannabis investment sector.