No matter what side of the “aisle” you’re on, we can all probably agree that American politics can get pretty taxing; some folks tune out altogether.
But the truth is, for cannabis investors, politics are vitally important because, as we’ve seen time and again, “when laws pass, pot stocks soar.” We don’t have the luxury of not paying attention… and I follow the issues very closely.
As luck would have it, marijuana reform happens to be a “non-toxic,” broadly bipartisan issue, with politicos across the ideological spectrum in passionate pursuit of real change.
It’s a bright spot.
From Trump’s conservative “right-hand man” to arch-liberal Northeastern senators, folks in D.C. and out in the rest of the country are fighting for change – change with the potential to significantly boost our bottom lines.
And with an entirely new Congress poised to enter power, things are looking better than ever…
Change from the State House to the White House to “the House”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo basically went “all in” on cannabis.
During a morning speech where he outlined his 2019 priorities, he said, “Let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana, once and for all.”
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You couldn’t put it more plainly than that.
While he’s danced around the topic before, this is the first time Cuomo has explicitly called for full legalization in the nation’s third most populous state. And that certainly wasn’t easy for him, as he was calling marijuana “a gateway drug” as recently as a year ago.
But bully for him for coming around.
He’s not just hopping on the bandwagon, either. Before becoming a proponent of legalization, Cuomo did his research by getting the New York State Department of Health to launch a study on the pros and cons of regulated marijuana. Then, in early October, he signed a bill that expanded medical marijuana so that it can now be prescribed as a pain medication in lieu of opioids. Only days after that, he appointed New York State Senator Diane Savino to form a task force and begin drafting policies that would make adult recreational use cannabis legal in the state of New York.
Now, two months later, Governor Cuomo is “all in” (like some other folks we know) and outlining his plan to legalize full, adult-use cannabis in New York. And he’s ready to push it through the state legislature in Albany in 2019.
In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and make my top 2019 legal marijuana prediction right here. Cuomo, in power now for close to eight years, seems more on top of things than Murphy, who’s still “green.” And so…
I think New York will be the next state to go fully legal.
Thanks to its more than nearly 20 million residents – many of them potential customers – New York going fully legal will be quite the catalyst for the still-young legal cannabis industry.
And that’s something we could use right now, with pot stocks recently falling into some serious doldrums. The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) – one way of tracking the overall legal marijuana industry – is down close to 40% over the past three months.
The cannabis market was estimated to be around $7.06 billion at the end of last year, according to Grand View Research Inc. But I think it’s headed toward $146.4 billion by 2025… thanks to states like New York going legal.
And the hugely populated likes of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois are right behind it.
Meanwhile, in Washington…
A Bit of a Mixed Bag to Close Out 2018
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner – remember him? – tried hard to attach federal cannabis reform to the criminal justice reform bill that cleared the U.S. Senate last week, but, no dice.
Still, his heart’s in the right place.
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Gardner’s proposed amendment essentially mirrors the STATES Act bill that he and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced earlier this year – and that U.S. President Donald Trump says he supports. Both, if passed, would protect state-level cannabis legalization from federal meddling.
Perhaps even more significantly, President Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney, current director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, as his acting chief of staff.
And that move may have made Mulvaney the marijuana movement’s strongest ally in the White House.
He is decidedly pro-marijuana and has been for quite some time. While representing South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives, Mulvaney threw his support behind amendments that would have prevented the federal government from interfering in state cannabis laws, given banks the freedom to deal with state-level marijuana businesses, and allowed Veterans Affairs doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to vets.
He also voted for amendments to protect and expand medical marijuana, as well as a number of proposals in favor of industrial hemp.
As far as I’m concerned, better Mulvaney in and near the White House than former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
However it shakes out in D.C. – or maybe in your own state capital – as the pace of legalization and reform picks up in 2019, so will cannabis investor profits.
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