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Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Cannabis companies continued to blaze higher on Wednesday, boosted by the announcement that mainstream sleep medications company Jazz Pharmaceuticals would acquire GW Pharmaceuticals, developer of Epidiolex, a marijuana-based drug that won FDA approval as a treatment for severe forms of childhood epilepsy in 2018.

By the numbers: U.K.-based GW Pharma shares jumped 46% and pot stocks rallied broadly, gaining on their already impressive 2021 surge.

  • Shares of Aphria gained 12.6% on the day.
  • Cronos rose 8.1%.
  • Tilray added 12%.

Be smart: "We don’t think this is the last deal we will see in the sector," Nawan Butt, portfolio manager of the Medical Cannabis and Wellness ETF CBD, told MarketWatch.

  • “It is also another example that the cannabis industry is continuing to normalize and evolve beyond the traditional cultivation of flower, with potential well outside of our borders,” Jason Wilson, cannabis and banking expert at ETF Managers Group, which manages the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF, said in the article.
  • “For investors, the acquisition of GW Pharma is another reminder that investing in cannabis touches many verticals globally, requiring a diverse approach beyond traditional cannabis cultivation companies.”

Go deeper: Pot stocks boom as industry sees prohibition ending

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Feb 3, 2021 - Economy & Business

Pot stocks boom as industry sees prohibition ending

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

GameStop and the "meme" stocks have attracted much of the market's attention in recent weeks, but cannabis stocks have been the market's real standout in 2021 thanks to renewed expectations of U.S. legalization.

The big picture: Many have quietly doubled their stock price in less than a month of trading.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

3 hours ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.