There was nothing unexpected in Jeff Sessions’ announcement at the beginning of January that federal prosecutors were now free to pursue marijuana cases in legalized states. It was, after all, what he had promised back when he first received nomination as attorney general. However, this foresight did not quell the outcry from the marijuana community when his announcement came, with industry leaders calling Sessions’ actions “economically stupid” and “outrageous.”
The cannabis stock industry’s net worth by the end of 2017 was $7.9 billion.
Despite the optimistic financial rise last year, pot stocks have endured negative reactions following Sessions’ recent statement. For starters, the market saw a drop of more than 9% on a cache of weed-based stocks. Scotts Miracle-Gro Company experienced over a 5% drop in stock prices following the repealing of the Obama-era’s Cole Memo, which offered legalized states protection, also revoked by Sessions.
It wasn’t only weed stock industry leaders that reacted strongly – various American politicians have likewise protested the Attorney General’s announcement.
On Capitol Hill, both Republican senators and Democratic members of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus protested loudly, some in the form of ultimatums. Colorado’s Republican Senator, Cory Gardner, who also chairs the NRSC, issued Sessions an ultimatum: “I will be putting a hold on every single nomination from the Department of Justice until Attorney General Jeff Sessions lives up to the commitment he made to me in my pre-confirmation meeting with him. The conversation we had that was specifically about this issue of states’ rights in Colorado. Until he lives up to that commitment, I’ll be holding up all nominations of the Department of Justice.”
Politicians who previously remained silent on marijuana issues and are now stepping forward to add pressure on the Department of Justice – which is good news for MMJ stock investors.
For one, Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat and leader of the DOJ funding subcommittee, wrote this tweet: “I’ll work to ensure that resources are devoted to opioid response NOT foolish policy of interfering with legal marijuana production.”
Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader, stepped up with a fierce statement directed at Sessions, in which she threatened to drive an amendment to a new bill that would offer protection to legalized states for not only medical but recreational marijuana. The ramifications of such a move would only add more tension to already tense budget negotiations.
The future of weed stocks may still experience growth as the perception of marijuana changes throughout the nation.
Nationwide support of marijuana in some form has risen to near 70% as perceptions are gradually shifting toward acceptance. As of 2016, around 2.6 million Americans are now among the community of people who rely on legally obtained medical marijuana. Those who are pro-marijuana are no longer characterized as the potheads, stoners, hippies and felons that they were in the past, which is evident in the rise of this issue to the top-tiers of budget negotiations.
Proponents of the marijuana industry and pot stock investors still have their work cut out for them as they face necessary growth pains.
Changing federal drug policy that has been in place for nearly 50 years requires significant sway, a move from a band of splintered supporters (investors, cancer patients, parents with ill children, the elderly, libertarians and traumatized veterans) to a more unified powerhouse – A powerhouse not only great in number, but, one that will bring more concentrated lobbying efforts as long as is necessary.
What Sessions appears to have done is bring this long-contentious issue to a pivotal point, where many legislators who have gotten by catering to both sides of the issue will have to pick a more decisive stance. His antipathy may have done the industry, politically and financially, a favor in the long run by galvanizing factions that have long been disparate in Congress; An industry with state tax revenue projected around $2.30 billion by 2020 is bound to inspire heated debate.
To learn more about legality news regarding marijuana use in America, read State Victories Look Good for Marijuana Stocks.