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Stock Market Wrap-Up: Buffett Talks Pot, but Here's Who's Buying Marijuana Stock

By Dan Caplinger – Updated May 4, 2020 at 4:47PM

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Find out who's pulling the trigger on cannabis.

The stock market had a solid day on Monday, recovering from early losses to post modest gains by the end of the session. Investors are nervously optimistic about the prospects of several states starting to reopen businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. And despite fears about the economic fallout, market participants are still hopeful that a recovery could come quickly. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -0.55%), S&P 500 (^GSPC -0.18%), and Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.23%) all managed to gain ground, albeit by the slightest of margins in the case of the Dow.

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At the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, Warren Buffett talked for hours about his company, the stock market, and the American experience. Interestingly, marijuana was one topic he mentioned in passing on a couple of occasions, making joking references to smoking pot as an emerging trend among ordinary people. Berkshire hasn't taken any interest in any cannabis companies (at least not ones with direct exposure to pot). But one company put its money where its mouth is with respect to marijuana, as Constellation Brands (STZ -0.58%) boosted its investment in one of the best-known pot stocks in the market.

Marijuana leaf held between two fingers of a hand, with cannabis plants in background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Making light of marijuana

Warren Buffett is well known for his folksy demeanor, and telling stories is one of the highlights of his annual meetings throughout the years. During the Berkshire meeting, the CEO talked about the 3.9 million Americans in 1790 and imagined asking them what the future would bring. Buffett said that even the most optimistic people couldn't have imagined the America of today, even if they had "been drinking heavily and even had a little pot."

Later in the discussion, Buffett turned to his time-honored story of Mr. Market, describing him as a neighbor who constantly offers to buy or sell investments at prices that fluctuate widely from day to day. In this year's version, the Oracle of Omaha characterized Mr. Market as "sort of a manic depressive [who] drinks, maybe smokes a little pot."

More cash into cannabis

For all that Buffett has worked marijuana into his anecdotes, he hasn't put serious money into the industry. You can't say that about Constellation Brands, though, which doubled down on its already substantial stake in Canopy Growth (CGC).

Constellation made the move late Friday, exercising warrants that it already owned in Canopy to purchase more stock. Under the terms of the transaction, Constellation paid about 245 million Canadian dollars ($174 million) to exercise 18.88 million warrants, boosting its total stake in Canopy to almost 39%.

Constellation CEO Bill Newlands expressed his continued confidence in the pot stock's prospects. "Canopy is best positioned to win in the emerging cannabis space," Newlands said, "and we are confident in the strategic direction of the company under [Canopy CEO] David Klein and his team."

Canopy shares benefited from the vote of confidence, rising 3% on Monday. As Constellation takes greater control of Canopy, investors hope that the collaboration between the beer and spirits giant and the budding marijuana play will eventually produce the share-price gains for Canopy that have thus far eluded the cannabis industry in general.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and Constellation Brands and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2021 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), and short June 2020 $205 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Constellation Brands, Inc. Stock Quote
Constellation Brands, Inc.
$232.31 (-0.58%) $-1.36
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Canopy Growth
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
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S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
$3,633.91 (-0.18%) $-6.56
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