Marijuana legalization went cold during the last presidential debate. There was a minimal discussion among Democrats in the third presidential debate. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is known for voicing his opinion on federal marijuana legalization. He supports marijuana legalization. However, he didn’t discuss legalization much in the third debate. Is he ready to fire up his 2020 campaign with a marijuana proposal? Let’s take a look!
Beto O’Rourke’s marijuana proposal
- legalizing and taxing marijuana
- releasing and expunging the records of individuals convicted of marijuana possession
- allowing banks to provide financial assistance to help small marijuana businesses
O’Rourke is the only Democratic candidate with a history of supporting cannabis. He focused on racial disparity when it comes to possessing marijuana in the US. In March, in Iowa, O’Rourke said that people with marijuana-related charges are “browner and blacker than most of America.”
With the new proposal, O’Rourke intends to prevent the federal government from deporting undocumented immigrants—especially those with marijuana-related offenses.
Previously, I discussed how the government is losing out on tax revenues from marijuana. Currently, the revenues are going to the states. O’Rourke’s proposal targets the issue. By taxing cannabis at the federal level, he intends for the tax revenues to:
- support the reentry of individuals imprisoned for marijuana possession
- fund substance abuse treatment programs
- start a new campaign called “Drug War Justice Grant,” which would provide financial support to individuals in state and federal prisons with marijuana-related offenses.
Banking support for small marijuana businesses
Last week House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer brought the banking bill to the House floor for voting. The SAFE Banking Act, introduced in 2017, aims to protect banks and financial institutions that want to help small cannabis businesses. The banks would be protected from federal penalties. Read Cannabis: House to Vote on US Banking Bill to learn more.
Democrats have always supported the banking bill. O’Rourke’s new proposal has a similar aim. His proposal intends to allow minority-owned businesses to obtain licenses to produce, distribute, and sell marijuana.
After the plan was released, Beto O’Rourke said, “We need to not only end the prohibition on marijuana but also repair the damage done to the communities of color disproportionately locked up in our criminal justice system or locked out of opportunity because of the war on drugs.”
Will cannabis companies benefit?
Now that big cannabis players are preparing for Cannabis 2.0, federal legalization would help their businesses. While the companies are benefiting from their business in Canada, they’re losing out on a lot of revenues in the US.
Recently, I discussed how Aurora Cannabis is gearing up for Cannabis 2.0. The company has laid out a plan. Aurora Cannabis wants to expand its edibles business. The company has set up enhanced facilities to produce new and high-quality products. Aurora Cannabis is also developing high-quality vape products to expand its vape business. High-quality products will be a good solution to address vaping concerns in the US. Aurora Cannabis will produce vape pens, mints, gummies, and chocolates at its Aurora Air and Polaris facilities. Notably, Aurora Cannabis (ACB) has fallen 6.1% in September.
Canopy Growth (CGC) (WEED) is expanding its beverage market with Constellation Brands (STZ). The company will also be manufacturing various beverages, edibles, and oils later this fiscal year. Recently, an Oppenheimer analyst discussed positive views about the stock. Canopy Growth stock has suffered in the last few months. However, we think that expanding into the edibles business with Constellation Brands’ financial strength will help the company be profitable in upcoming quarters. Canopy Growth has gained 12% in September.
What else is happening in the cannabis industry?
Regulations are a priority in the cannabis industry. Recently, a lack of proper regulations crushed CannTrust (CTST) (TRST) stock. Health Canada suspended the company’s license due to regulation violations in July. CannTrust fired its CEO due to the scandals. KPMG also withdrew its audit report due to the scandals. CannTrust stock has lost 71% year-to-date. So far, the stock has fallen 21% in September.
Will cannabis legalization impact the election?
A recent national poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News showed that Beto O’Rourke isn’t that popular among the candidates. He needs to use marijuana to boost his campaign. We’ll have to see what the other Democratic candidates plan. Previously, Andrew Yang, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bill de Blasio, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg expressed their support for legalization.
Most of the candidates kept quiet or discussed marijuana legalization minimally during the third Democratic debate. We’ll also have to see what President Trump plans regarding legalization. According to a recent poll, things don’t look so favorable for President Trump. In the survey, the public said that he isn’t doing the best job. As a result, President Trump needs to take some action.
I think that marijuana legalization will be a hot topic soon. Currently, federal legalization has immense support from Americans. Other countries are cashing in on marijuana legalization. Read Cannabis: While the US Waits, the World Opens Up to learn more.
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