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Cannabis Watch: A guide to pot stocks: What you need to know to invest in cannabis companies

The following article is part of a package of stories that MarketWatch is publishing to mark the start of full legalization of cannabis for adult use in Canada on Wednesday.

Stocks of marijuana businesses have been on a rampage in anticipation of billions of dollars’ worth of sales and other opportunities as Canada this Wednesday becomes the first G-7 nation to legalize cannabis.

Like any hot and relatively new sector, the cannabis industry can be confusing, with high potential for scams, as the Securities and Exchange Commission has warned, so investors need to know the basics. To start with, there are a handful of large companies that actually touch the marijuana plant — an important distinction — and there are metrics that are unique to the industry that can help investors understand the underlying business.

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