Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

May 11, 2010
High on pot initiative passing? Intrade has investment for you

The Intrade prediction market, an on-line trading network that enables investors to buy and sell shares based on forecasting events, is trying to cash in on curiosity over the outcome of California's November vote on legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

On April 14, the network offered investors a chance to earn $100 if the ballot initiative passes on Nov. 2 or wind up with nothing if it loses. The opening price was $15.

Just after April 20, the celebratory 4/20 anniversary for pot smokers, the share value soared.

By May 9, shares reached $65, meaning investors believed there was a decent chance that Californians will vote "yes."

The price dropped to $60 by May 10. At the Monday close, investors wanting to wager on a "yes" vote needed to pay $65.80 per share. Those wanting out of the pot stakes could dump shares for $60.

Yes on legalizing marijuana in California lagged well behind prospects of President Obama's nominee, Elena Kagan, getting confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was trading at $95.00 on Monday. But wagering in support of the tax and regulate cannabis measure exceeded that of Republicans retaking the House of Representatives in 2010. Investors were trading shares on a GOP comeback at $46.

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