The Green Rush: A Coast-to-Coast Review

Parents used to warn their kids about marijuana. And today? Mom and dad are using pot themselves.

My mom is 87 years old; my dad is 88. During the Christmas holiday, as my family sat around the tree and drank the traditional intoxicant of eggnog, my elderly parents quizzed me about the efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) for their aches and pains. It’s moments like that when you realize a product has gone mainstream.

It’s not just Baby Boomers or their kids (or grandkids) who are embracing marijuana. It’s the so-called Greatest Generation.

Among patients in the U.S. who use medical marijuana, 45% are parents. Lawmakers are aware of this cultural shift and they’re jumping on the bandwagon.

To make smart decisions in the marijuana sector, investors need to stay abreast of the legal landscape. Let’s review the past week of legal developments at the federal and state levels, from sea to shining sea.

The Federal Level

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The War on Drugs has been a disaster. We need to legalize marijuana nationwide, invest in the communities that have been destroyed by its criminalization, and expunge past marijuana-related convictions.”

North Carolina Democratic congressional candidate Steve Woodsmall tweeted, “I support the federal legalization of cannabis and the expungement of all nonviolent offenders as a result of cannabis, due to the positive consequences agriculturally, and to the criminal justice system.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published an overview of the 12-step approval process for cannabis-related drugs.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a press release about cannabis-related provisions attached to federal spending legislation, saying:

“CBD is brimming with potential to be a billion-dollar industry across New York State, bringing along countless jobs and truly meaningful economic development with it. But before that can happen, we need to be 100% sure we understand the ABC’s of CBD—its impact on human health, and how best to regulate it at the federal level.”

President Trump on December 20 signed into law Fiscal Year 2020 federal spending legislation that contains several marijuana, CBD and hemp provisions. Notably, language in the spending bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to fund at least $1 million in grants to research whether CBD in its natural or synthetic form is an effective opioid alternative.

Read This Story: The Race For “Cannabis 2.0” Just Got Faster

Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) highlighted marijuana banking legislation in a #12BillsOfChristmas Twitter thread he posted.

The House of Representatives in late September passed a bill that would protect banks that service the cannabis industry from being penalized by federal regulators.

Called the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, the legislation seeks to expedite the provision of financial services to cannabis companies by removing the fear of potential federal action against lenders. The SAFE bill is now pending in the Senate.

Read This Story: Coping With The Cannabis Cash Crunch

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted, “A historic year indeed. The #SAFEBankingAct was the biggest reform to our federal cannabis laws since 1970. I hope we’ll continue to see progress in 2020 and get #SAFEBanking signed into law to protect businesses, residents and communities.”

The States

California activists are considering whether a new ballot initiative is needed to address regulatory impediments in the state’s current legal structure regarding marijuana.

Colorado marijuana dispensaries starting January 1 will be required to post warnings about the effects of marijuana on pregnant women.

Cumulative marijuana state tax revenue has skyrocketed in Colorado since the weed became legal there in 2012, surpassing $1 billion (see chart).

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana in the context of regional trends toward legalization, asserting, “What are we going to be, some little island? It’s impossible to enforce a world like that.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said that Chicago officials who sought to delay the start of marijuana sales “didn’t really understand the bill. They didn’t read it completely or didn’t understand all the provisions that are really focused on social equity.”

On December 10, Illinois regulators began accepting applications for new recreational marijuana retail licenses. Recreational marijuana goes on sale in the state January 1.

Louisiana regulators are fast-tracking hemp rules, with the first cultivation licenses expected to be issued in February. The 2018 Farm Bill reclassified hemp and it is now legal to grow industrial hemp in the U.S.

Missouri regulators announced the first round of approved medical cannabis transportation businesses. In November 2018, Missouri residents approved Amendment 2, a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana.

Oregon activists are now collecting signatures for a proposed 2020 ballot measure to decriminalize psychedelics such as psilocybin, ayahuasca, ibogaine, and mescaline.

Vermont police data show that arrests for THC-impaired driving have more than doubled in the year since the state legalized marijuana possession. However, that may be because there has been an increased emphasis on training officers to focus on detecting such activity. Vermont’s first day of legal pot started on July 1, 2018.

Wisconsin’s Senate minority leader expressed hope that both major parties can work together on medical cannabis.

Editor’s Note: Now’s a good time to consider marijuana value plays, before the market gets frothy again. The Investing Daily team continually scours the landscape for inherently solid marijuana plays. For our team’s latest research on the best pot investments, click here.

Questions or comments about marijuana investing? Drop me a line:

John Persinos is the editor-in-chief of Marijuana Investing Daily.