Senate Leader Lights Up NYC “Smoke-In”

When the leader of the U.S. Senate gives a rousing speech in favor of marijuana legal reform, at a rally attended by thousands of stoned people adorned in marijuana-themed costumes, you know weed is in the social mainstream.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was the main attraction at a pro-pot rally last Saturday, promising yet again to push for passage of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act.

The event was the annual NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally, which celebrated its 50th anniversary. The cannabis confab traces its origins to a 1973 “Smoke-In” in the city and it’s still referred to as such by many marijuana advocates.

Exact attendance numbers aren’t available, but the rally last weekend drew several thousand people from all walks of life, a significant increase from the low attendance of the pandemic era. Several attendees were dressed up as marijuana plants, reefers, and bongs.

T-shirts emblazoned with pro-marijuana messages did a brisk business. Music, singing, dancing, and speechifying filled the air, as did the aroma of pot.

There was a time when any association with marijuana would end your political career. Now, for an increasing number of lawmakers, embracing weed is a big political plus.

SAFE, which would make it easier for cannabis companies to access conventional financial services, has passed the House seven times, but the bill has invariably gotten stuck in the Senate. Schumer vowed that this year would be different.

A tailwind for pot stocks…

Two weeks ago, SAFE was reintroduced in both the House and Senate by its sponsors, a development that sent marijuana equities soaring.

At the boisterous marijuana rally in Manhattan’s Union Square, Schumer was among a variety of celebrities, musicians, lawmakers, officials, advocates, and entrepreneurs to tout the progress of the reform movement.

Schumer gave his hearty endorsement of not just the SAFE Act, but also the federal legalization of marijuana and an end to the War on Drugs.

The level of excitement at the gathering was…well, high. The following tweet provides an indication:

“We struck a real victory here in New York with legalization, which I pushed the legislature to do,” Schumer told the crowd, which assembled amid a (predictable) haze of blue smoke. “And while there are definitely real changes in implementation in this state, no one—no one—can take away what legalizing marijuana means as a bellwether in this country. Now Congress has to catch up. I’m working on Congress to catch up to New York.”

Cannabis in New York state has been legal for medical purposes since 2016, and recreational purposes since 2021. As of 2022, recreational cannabis is for sale legally in the state.

Although New York has struggled with bureaucratic delays in the launch of recreational sales and continues to grapple with a burgeoning level of illicit sales, legal sales in that state are still expected to total $1.3 billion in 2023, and to grow to $2.7 billion by 2027.

Governor Kathy Hochul’s (D) latest budget plan projects that over the next six years, the Empire State will generate more than $1.25 billion in legal marijuana tax revenue.

Read This Story: Pot Stocks on a High After SAFE Act Reintroduced

Despite the rancor between the two political parties in Congress, the SAFE Act actually faces decent odds of passage this year. That assertion seems counter-intuitive, given the deeply conservative “culture war” being waged by the GOP, but the fact is, Republican lawmakers are becoming increasingly favorable toward marijuana reform. They can read the latest opinion polls, which show that a majority of Americans favor federal legalization.

When SAFE was reintroduced last month, Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-SC) told the press that the bill has a good chance of passage. He also said that he and Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are in agreement that the bill “should go through regular order,” rather than rushing it to the floor and risking opposition on procedural grounds.

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a hearing on marijuana banking issues for Thursday, May 11.

Cannabis equities have embarked on an upward trajectory in recent days; these political developments should provide continued momentum.

Editor’s Note: As I’ve just explained, the stigma surrounding marijuana is fast disappearing. That’s why I’ve launched an investment service called Marijuana Profit Alert.

My publication Marijuana Profit Alert provides specific, actionable advice on the best investments in the psychotropic revolution. Visit this URL to learn more.

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