News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. August 23, 2013: Jamaica may be blamed for marijuana or pot trafficking to America, but Drug Enforcement agents have their hands full trying to stamp out growth of the drug in the United States.

While the U.S. State Department report on narcotics for this year shows there are an estimated 15,000 hectares of marijuana growing in Jamaica and some 67 metric tons of marijuana was seized in 2012 alone, United States marijuana growers have harvested a minimum of 2,500 metric tons of saleable marijuana in recent years, worth over $25 billion on the retail market.

Jon Gettman, who recently did a report on “Marijuana Production in the United States,” concludes that marijuana harvested and sold untaxed in the U.S., makes it the country’s number one cash crop, worth more than the corn and wheat crops combined.

Five states – California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii and Washington – had marijuana crops worth over $1 billion despite the DEA’s best efforts to stamp down on the drug. That number could grow by $9 billion on medical-marijuana consumption alone by 2016.

And with the fight for medical marijuana heating up and more and more states considering legalization of the drug, Jamaica may soon lose its place as the pot capital of the world.
Medical marijuana is legal in almost 20 states, and recreational use of the drug was recently legalized in two states.


Still, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, (FINRA), has issued a new Investor Alert called Marijuana Stock Scams to warn investors about potential related scams.
FINRA says the con artists behind marijuana stock scams may try to entice investors with optimistic and potentially false and misleading information that in turn creates unwarranted demand for shares of small, thinly traded companies that often have little or no history of financial success.

One company highlighted in Marijuana Stock Scams was touted on the Internet through the use of sponsored links, investment profiles and spam email, including one promotional piece claiming the stock “could double its price SOON.” Yet the company’s balance sheet showed only losses, and the company stated elsewhere that it was only beginning to formulate a business plan.

Marijuana Stock Scams also includes smart tips to help investors spot and avoid these potential scams. The scammers behind these “pump and dump” scams can then sell off their shares, leaving investors with worthless stock, warned FINRA.

“Investors considering investing in a heavily touted, thinly traded company should question why a total stranger would tell them about a really great investment opportunity. In reality, there is likely no true opportunity. Investors should always find out whether the promoter is licensed using FINRA BrokerCheck, and check out the investment using the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR database of company filings,” said Gerri Walsh, FINRA’s senior vice president for investor education.

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