Is Humira Pen Really Outselling Marijuana That’s Legal?

With AbbVie in hot pursuit of additional indications for Humira, including gaining one more recently inpediatric Crohn’s disease, Humira’s incredible growth story is far from finished. In fact, legalized marijuana probably won’t stand a chance of generating more revenue than Humira until 2018, at which point the combination of the potential loss of patent protection for Humira and the marijuana industry’s organic growth could turn the tables.

Here’s the broader point Investors looking to catch the next “big thing” in marijuana stocks should consider a few critical issues before diving into these highly speculative companies.

First off, marijuana companies have proven to be extremely volatile investing vehicles because of the uncertain nature of the industry’s legal basis going forward. Federal agencies, such as the DEA, are still raiding marijuana dispensaries in states that have decriminalized such businesses, and the incoming Congress looks decidedly more conservative than its predecessors in terms of potentially legalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Put simply, the hazy legality of marijuana may act like a governor on the industry’s growth rate, especially in this shifting political climate. Investors seeking outsized gains certainly haven’t necessarily had to rely on risky marijuana stocks. AbbVie’s shares, for example, have steadily marched northward since the company split from Abbott Laboratories in 2013: AbbVie has also raised its dividend twice within the past year and will probably do so again in 2015, as it ramps up its hepatitis C therapy Viekira Pak.

If you bought in right after the split and reinvested the dividends, this seemingly boring health care stock would have more than doubled your money — all the while having nowhere near the level of volatility seen in marijuana stocks. They may not make you rich overnight, but dividend-paying companies such as AbbVie are proven long-term winners.

Marijuana stocks, on the other hand, are likely to see more volatility as the legal process unfolds and simply don’t offer a straightforward path toward wealth creation.

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