January 4, 2018 / 4:22 PM / a year ago

BUZZ-Marijuana stocks take a hit as Justice Dept. announces crackdown

** Shares of Canadian marijuana-related companies including Aurora Cannabis Inc, Canopy Growth Corp, Cronos Group Inc and Aphria Inc fall after U.S. Justice Dept. rescinds policy easing enforcement of federal law pertaining to drug

** Aurora last down 14.8 pct, Canopy down 15.3 pct, Cronos down 12.8 pct, Aphria down 16.8 pct in Thu session

** U.S.-traded ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF, which launched on Dec 26, down 8.8 pct

** Previous policy, outlined in 2013 under Obama administration, left regulation of marijuana largely up to states and localities; by contrast, Attorney General Jeff Sessions a vocal critic of the drug

** Justice Dept. move comes shortly after California law permitting recreational marijuana went into effect on Jan 1; Canopy, Aphria and Aurora shares had hit record highs on Wed

** In 2017, Cronos surged 558.1 pct over previous yr, while Aurora gained 317.4 pct, Aphria grew 271 pct, and Canopy climbed 224 pct

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