Just Say Yes: Marijuana Reform Is On a Roll

Marijuana legalization is a crucial indicator for the industry, but there’s another indicator that speaks volumes: my sainted octogenarian mother is looking to make a pot deal.

When I was a teenager, my mom used to tear apart my room, looking for marijuana. Sometimes she found weed and I’d get grounded.

Today? I’m a grandfather and my parents are great-grandparents. And just last weekend, my 89-year-old mother asked me if I could buy her some marijuana for her back pain. Oh, the irony. I demurred and told her to ask her doctor because it’s legal for medicinal purposes in Maryland, which is where we live.

But here’s the overriding point: marijuana is becoming big, big business. “Just Say No” has morphed into “Just Say Yes.

Read This Story: “Canna-Billions” Are Up For Grabs

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We didn’t get a “blue wave” last week, but we certainly got a green one. On November 3, ballot measures in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota to legalize recreational marijuana all passed.

South Dakotans also approved a separate measure permitting medical marijuana use, as did Mississippi voters. “Red state” voters are socially conservative, but they’re jumping aboard the marijuana bandwagon. It’s only a matter of time before the feds legalize marijuana, especially with the Democrats preparing to move into the White House in January.

According to marijuana research firm New Frontier Data:

“With an estimated 264 million cannabis consumers globally, spending nearly $350 billion annually, not only has prohibition been ineffective in eliminating cannabis use, but governments stand to see significant revenues from effective taxation and regulation.”

The following chart summarizes marijuana laws state-by-state in the United States, as of November 5:

This week, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced that the chamber will hold a floor vote in December on legislation to federally legalize marijuana and fund programs to mitigate the damage from the war on drugs. Hoyer’s announcement on Monday comes after Democrats scheduled and then cancelled a September vote on the cannabis proposal. Now that the election is over and Biden is the president-elect, Democrats feel confident enough to move forward with the bill.

Called the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, the bill would federally deschedule cannabis and expunge the records of those with previous marijuana convictions. MORE also would impose a 5% tax on cannabis sales, the revenue from which would be reinvested in communities most harmed by the War on Drugs.

MORE also would expedite resentencing for people imprisoned for marijuana offenses, protect immigrants from being denied citizenship because of cannabis, and prevent federal agencies from blocking public benefits or security clearances due to its use.

MORE is likely to pass the House next month. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has expressed anti-marijuana views in the past, but signs are emerging that he might relent on MORE. Significantly, McConnell recently met with marijuana industry lobbyists. If MORE gets enacted by the full Congress, it almost certainly will get signed by President Biden.

It’s all about bucks…

When it comes to the War on Drugs, many conservatives have waved the white flag and joined the enemy. Case in point: John Boehner, the former Republican leader of the U.S. House, was once an avowed opponent of marijuana legalization. Boehner is now the highly paid chairman of the National Cannabis Roundtable, a powerful lobbying group. I’m reminded of a quote by Gordon Gekko in the 1987 movie Wall Street: “It’s all about bucks, kid. The rest is conversation.”

Cannabis is becoming a consumer staple that’s garnering greater interest among all adult age groups, even the elderly such as my own mother. Some cannabis equities are superb investments. But many others are not. You need to conduct due diligence.

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