Cannabis Rising: 3 States Legalize Cannabis & Sessions is Out
November 8th, 2018
Cannabis stocks soared higher after a solid turnaround during the mid-term elections and the sudden departure of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. The Horizons Marijuana ETF (TSE: HMMJ) rose more than 11 percent since November 5 and many U.S.-focused cannabis stocks moved even higher following the news.
Voters Relax Cannabis Laws
Michigan voters approved a ballot measure to legalize the recreational use of cannabis and two other states—Utah and Missouri—endorsed medical cannabis laws. While North Dakota legalized medical cannabis back in 2016, voters opted not to legalize adult-use cannabis during the latest midterm.
With these new additions, 33 states have legalized some form of cannabis and adult-use cannabis laws are in effect across ten states and the District of Columbia. The catch is that cannabis possession, selling, or use remains illegal under federal laws since no such measures have passed at the highest levels.
Michigan’s legalization of adult-use cannabis represents the most significant development since it’s the first midwest state to approval of the drug. In the past, the midwest has been the most conservative when it comes to drug laws and the hope is that Michigan helps pave the way toward a better understanding.
Sessions is Pushed Out
Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned following the midterm elections. While the move is concerning to many Democrats concerned about the Mueller investigation, it’s a positive development for the cannabis industry given Sessions’ strong opposition to cannabis legalization efforts.
Earlier this year, Sessions nixed Obama-era rules designed to let states determine the legality of cannabis, which caused widespread confusion throughout the industry. He also instructed the Department of Justice to aggressively prosecute drug offenses, saying that drugs are a gateway to violence.
President Trump appointed Sessions’ Chief of Staff, Matthew Whitaker, as acting replacement. However, it’s unclear how long he will be in the role and who the replacement will be. Trump has been an on again, off again advocate of cannabis, but the true legal future will be determined by the next appointee.
The midterm elections have been a positive development for the cannabis industry, but there’s still uncertainty on a federal level. Cannabis enthusiasts, executives, and investors will be closely watching the Attorney General’s office and emerging regulations to see where these trends are headed.
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