Whenever a company or industry reaches some type of milestone of sorts, ringing the opening bell can be a rite of passage and a demonstration of legitimacy. “You’ve made it now,” or “Good on you,” are the messages ringing the ceremonial bell signifies. Today, on the historic that Canada ended cannabis prohibition, the Toronto Stock Exchange celebrated cannabis stocks, with several industry executives on hand to ring the opening bell, as MarketWatch reported:

The Wednesday gathering was not just a celebration but also an act of validation for an industry that at one point in the not-too-distant past was run by outlaws, smugglers and drug dealers, but is currently transforming into just another sector. Aside from one exception, the bell-ringing room was full of suit-wearing executives with assistants and portfolio mangers of exchange-traded funds that have transformed a black-market business into a multibillion-dollar industry.

“It’s historic what we’ve done here, and we’re proud to be sitting at the center of all this … to facilitate the growth of cannabis companies in Canada,” Loui Anastasopoulos, president of capital formation at TMX, said in remarks Wednesday morning; TMX runs the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Anastasopoulos said the first cannabis company listed in 2014. As of the end of September, there were at least 43 cannabis stocks listed on TMX’s two exchanges with a combined market value of C$46.79 billion, roughly $36 billion. Five years ago, the combined market cap of the sector in Canada was zero.

What remarkable progress the cannabis industry has made recently as there were zero cannabis companies listed on Canadian stock exchanges five years ago and 43 today. The United States, lagging behind its neighbor to the north on cannabis, only has a handful of cannabis stocks (all based in the Great White North) available on the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange, be we can expect more to be added soon. The question is: Will they be Canadian or U.S. companies. Hopefully, the newfound freedom, jobs, and revenue experienced by Canadians will prove to be contagious and the U.S. will also sweep prohibition into the dustbin of history where it belongs.

Learn the latest about cannabis stocks and other important industry trends at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco on February 7-8, 2019. Be sure to purchase your early-bird tickets by January 18th to save! After San Francisco, the ICBC is heading to Barcelona and Berlin, and stay tuned for more exciting cannabis destinations in the near future!