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North American cannabis venture investments grew in H2 2017

Venture investments in North American cannabis companies ticked up in 2017 as more U.S. states and Canada rolled out legislation allowing recreational use of the drug.

In 2017, venture firms invested $88.8 million into 18 cannabis-related companies in North America, up from $37.4 million invested in nine companies in 2016, preliminary Thomson Reuters data shows.

The bulk of the deals came in the second half, when $65.2 million of the funding was invested in 15 startups.

The biggest deal of 2017 was San Francisco medical-marijuana-delivery service Eaze Solutions, which raised $27 million of Series B funding in September from investors, including DCM Ventures and FJ Labs.

Eaze also raised the most among companies in the cannabis sector in the two years prior, raising $13 million in 2016 and $10 million in 2015.

In 2015, venture investors injected $75 million into Privateer Holdings Fund, the Seattle private equity firm dedicated to cannabis investments, which brought the total equity invested in the sector to nearly $99 million that year, according to Thomson Reuters data. Excluding that deal, five cannabis-related companies raised almost $24 million in 2015.

No venture firms invested in cannabis-related companies before 2014, when only a handful of states had legalized recreational marijuana use, according to Thomson Reuters data.

And just a few days into 2018, no cannabis-related deals have been reported this year. Although recreational cannabis is now legal in California as of Jan. 1, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a more aggressive federal stance toward states that legalize marijuana, making the regulatory and investment outlook unclear.

Below are the top 10 cannabis deals in 2017 in North America.

Download Data: Top 10 North American-based cannabis deals (2017)

Photo of cannabis leaf and $100 bill courtesy of Yarygin/iStock/Getty Images.