A flurry of dialogue materialized from the House and Senate in response to President Joe Biden’s executive action last week to pardon thousands of federal marijuana convictions. Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) seem to be changing their tone on the SAFE Banking Act.
Previously, the two Democratic leaders have worked to delay SAFE Banking’s progress in favor of adding additional social justice measures to the bill. However, Biden’s marijuana announcements have alleviated some of those concerns, and we’re pleased to see Booker responding positively.
“There are already conversations and dialogue going on about some kind of bipartisan movement because we see problems within the banking industry, and a lot of people who are winning licenses can’t get access to loans and more,” Senator Booker told NPR (opens in new tab). “So there’s a lot of folks who understand that we have to act on the federal level to do more than the president’s done, and I’m hopeful that this Congress, actually in the lame-duck after the midterms, I’m very hopeful we can get something done.”
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Medical marijuana is now legal in 38 states, and recreational cannabis use is legal in 19, as well as the District of Columbia. Five more states will vote on legalizing adult-use next month. And with more red states now voting in favor of loosening cannabis restrictions, all eyes are on the Senate’s upcoming actions in the lame-duck session.
Cannabis Stock Trading Volumes Hits Record High
Not surprisingly, pot stocks surged last week after President Biden asked for a review of marijuana’s drug classification. On the day of the announcement, we saw a significant final hour of trading given the very high trading volumes. Cannabis stocks and cannabis-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs) reached record high volumes the day following Biden’s news.
Among the investment community, discussions are taking place around hosting meetings and events to educate and inform more institutional investors about the implications of the president’s actions.
Some marijuana stocks have begun to give back their gains, but the possibility of federal legalization and the elimination of the 280E tax rule could provide a foundation for U.S. cannabis stocks. Multi-state operator Curaleaf (CURLF (opens in new tab)), for example, remains up more than 10% from its Oct. 5 close.
During the post-announcement excitement, Cresco Labs (CRLBF (opens in new tab)) tweeted, “This is huge news – the biggest step under the Biden administration so far on federal cannabis reform.” Shares for the Chicago-based operator rose 24.4% during last Thursday’s surge.
Across the border, Canopy Growth (CGC (opens in new tab)) saw a 36% loss across Friday and Monday, erasing some of Thursday’s gains. Canadian cannabis stocks saw a steeper fall possibly due to less compelling fundamentals, correlation with the weak state of the broader market, and current federal progress preventing operators from entering the U.S. for longer. We would not be surprised to see a stronger bid for all cannabis stocks through the elections as investors become increasingly optimistic about federal action during the Senate’s lame-duck session.
Cannabis Ballot Measures to Impact Industry Growth
Five states are preparing for ballot measures during the upcoming midterm elections that could legalize recreational cannabis. Voters in Maryland, Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota will have their say on Tuesday, Nov. 8. A considerable amount of coverage has been given to President Biden’s announcement, which is no surprise given the historical significance, but the addition of more states to the legal cannabis marketplace is also important news for investors.
Before adding in any new states, annual U.S. legal cannabis sales are projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11% and reach over $57 billion by 2030. According to work done here at Poseidon and using other industry data sources, we believe the addition of these five states to the marketplace could add another $3.8 billion to annual adult-use sales.
The addition of more states to the recreational market and the potential for adult-use legalization in almost 50% of U.S. states will also influence the view that the President’s administration takes on federal cannabis legalization.