Pot’s Budding Political Clout in 2022

“You wouldn’t believe how many people smoke pot. If anyone reading this would like to become mayor, believe me, there is a vast, untapped vote.”

Groundbreaking comedian Lenny Bruce wrote those words way back in 1964, when marijuana was a social taboo and associated in the public mind with criminals, losers, and “dangerous” minorities. As usual, Bruce proved prescient. These days, marijuana isn’t just a popular herb. It’s a political vote-getter.

Case in point: A new political action committee called Better Organizing to Win Legalization (BOWL) was launched this week by former NORML lobbyist Justin Strekal to fight for marijuana legalization and elect pro-reform politicians. (The title “BOWL” is the group’s intentional pun.)

Strekal stated the organization will “engage tactically in a number of races to ensure that voters, who may or may not be motivated to go to the polls, will know that through their choice of candidates that legalization is on the battlefield.” Polls show that 68% of Americans favor marijuana legalization.

In the words of influential think tank Brookings:

“Demographic change and widespread public experience using marijuana imply that opposition to legalization will never again return to the levels seen in the 1980s. The strong consensus that formed the foundation for many of today’s stringent marijuana laws has crumbled.”

Weed, grass, herb, bud, ganja, Mary Jane…whatever you want to call it, marijuana is a multi-billion-dollar investment opportunity. And it’s increasingly a political winner.

Watch This Video: The Weekly Weed Report

The November 2022 midterm elections in the U.S. already are shaping up to be bitterly fought, with marijuana legalization as a pivotal issue. Let’s take a quick tour around the United States to see what else is happening politically in the world of weed.

Seeking MORE…

A bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers recently sent a letter to the top leaders in both chambers of Congress, urging that legislation to federally legalize marijuana be “expeditiously” taken up by Congress.

The letter, spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-WA), demands action on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act (see the following tweet):

MORE is a bill sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that cleared the House but has not yet been scheduled for floor consideration.

In separate action, the House this month passed a business-oriented bill with language that includes the Secure and Fair Enforcement Act (SAFE), a bill that would allow banks to serve marijuana businesses without federal reprisal. SAFE is now pending in the Senate.

The opposition against “high” taxes…

New Frontier Data recently reported that illicit market sales in the U.S. will slow due to legal markets. The research group estimates that 17% of all 2019 U.S. cannabis sales were legal; in 2025 more than one-third (34%) of total annual demand will be met through legal markets.

That said, obstacles remain to marijuana sales in jurisdictions where weed is legal, notably taxes. The high level of marijuana taxation has emerged as a passionate political issue this year. State taxes on marijuana are soaring in the U.S., which in turn is driving up weed prices.

This dynamic is proving a headwind for the above-board marijuana industry, because it makes legal pot less affordable, hurts company margins, and fuels a rising black market. Accordingly, an increasing number of state and federal politicians this year are vowing to curb the rise in marijuana taxes, and in various states they’ve introduced measures and lobbying campaigns to do so.

Notably, the marijuana industry in California is putting pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to take action this year against the state’s sharply rising pot taxes.

The grassroots fight for grass…

Already In more than a dozen states, activists have filed or are paving the way for ballot initiatives on cannabis.

Adult-use (i.e., recreational) and medical marijuana legalization is poised to land on the 2022 ballot in Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The expansion of legal markets equals more profits for investors.

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John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily.

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