For the marijuana industry, observers say, 2019 will be a year of reckoning after Canada's marijuana stocks implode. Or, it might be the year of better U.S. banking laws, kicking open the gates for expansion. Maybe it will be the year of CBD after the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp. Or, it will be the year of CBN, or THCV, or other cannabis compounds you haven't heard of yet.

Whatever combination of the above 2019 will be, worldwide consumer spending on legal cannabis is expected to jump 40% to $18.1 billion next year, according to ArcView and BDS Analytics. The research firms expect $14.4 billion of that to come from the U.S., where cannabis isn't even federally legal but the market is nonetheless the biggest.

Still, there's a sense among some that the party might be a bit tamer a year from now, after wild swings in shares of marijuana companies Canopy Growth (CGC), Cronos Group (CRON), Tilray(TLRY) and Aurora Cannabis (ACB).

Marijuana Stocks Correction Or Bifurcation?

"I think a correction is likely to come after reporting for Q1 of 2019," Micah Tapman, managing director at Canopy Ventures, a Colorado cannabis-focused investment firm, said in an interview earlier this year. "I think that the numbers are going to be pretty humbling for most of those Canadian companies."

Canadian marijuana stocks on U.S. exchanges have crumbled from the pre-recreational-legalization highs. U.S. marijuana stocks trading in Canada have also slid. But if 2019 isn't a year of humbling, perhaps it will at least be a year of growing up, as Wall Street digs deeper into the industry's finances.

Investors, largely, still don't differentiate among the companies whose products line dispensary shelves. That's a sign that buyers of marijuana stocks are still mostly retail investors, said Todd Harrison, founding partner, and chief investment officer of CB1 Capital Management. But when the big money jumps in, marijuana stocks will start to diverge more.

"Presumably, institutional coverage is going to help to bifurcate the winners from the sinners," he said.