U.S. Marijuana Legalization Imminent
I like to call U.S. marijuana legalization the Holy Grail of the pot industry. That’s because, once the U.S. passes federal legalization, we’re going to see the biggest legal pot market in the world open up.
Gone will be all those pesky restrictions currently in place that bar many investors from reaping rewards from the many parts of the U.S. that are currently legally open for marijuana sales. Furthermore, states that currently disallow pot sales will be brought into the fold. It would mark a major victory, and gains would ensue for pot stocks.
The good news is that U.S. marijuana legalization is closer than ever. While we’ve been tracking the push for legalization for a long time at Profit Confidential, it’s safe to say that it has never been this close in the modern history of U.S. politics.
The most recent victory: the Utah legislature passed changes to the state’s medical marijuana bill. The amendments will permit more marijuana sellers and growers to legally operate.
One of the major sticking points was just how many pharmacies would be allowed to sell pot in the state.
“Why should we determine and set a statute on how many specific numbers there should be?” asked House Majority Whip Mike Schultz. (Source: “Utah Legislature passes changes to medical marijuana bill, allowing for more pharmacies,” KSL, September 16, 2019.)
But the details of the legislation aren’t really what’s important about this story. What’s more important about Utah’s fight for laxer marijuana laws is the letter beside Schultz’s name: “R.”
That means Schultz is a Republican. And while there are already a good number of Republicans who support marijuana legalization, frankly, the ball is in their party’s court regarding legislative action.
The weed legalization push has already occurred in the Democratic Party. The left side of American politics has largely embraced pot reform (with a few notable exceptions).
Most of the major presidential hopefuls for the Democrats have come out with marijuana reform proposals. In fact, there’s a fairly good chance that the next candidate for president from the left will be one who supports U.S. marijuana legalization.
Getting the majority of Democrats to support marijuana reform, then, won’t be a particularly hard sell. This is becoming part of the party’s DNA.
On the flip side, Republicans have been much less united in their stance on marijuana.
While the traditional pro-business and anti-government-oversight positions of the Republican Party should make supporting pot legalization easy, American conservatives tend to view the drug more negatively than liberals do.
Despite all this, marijuana has seen major progress in the American consciousness. The majority of Americans support one form or another of legalization, a trend that is only continuing to rise.
But even with mounting popular support for pot, there is one major roadblock in the way: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The House is firmly in Democrat control and is therefore likely to support some manner of marijuana law reform that passes through its halls.
The Senate, however, is Republican—not by a large margin, but by enough to ensure that any move on marijuana could be squashed even without all Republican members voting against the bill.
We’ve already seen this issue rear its ugly head, even with basic legislative proposals. The Secure And Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 (SAFE Banking Act), for instance, seemed an easy enough win. The bill would allow banks to handle marijuana money without fear of federal intrusion.
Again, there are many reasons for there to be wide, bi-partisan support for such a bill. But even with Republican and Democrat lawmakers aiming to see the bill enshrined into law—and even with an easy passage through the House—the bill has stalled in the Senate. The blame for that rests with McConnell. (Source: “Why the most pro-marijuana Congress ever won’t deal with weed,” Politico, September 9, 2019.)
He has firm control of the Senate and is easily able to wrangle other party members toward his positions. He’s infamous for his ability to delay and derail nearly any bill he sees fit. With his majority in the Senate secure, McConnell is among the most powerful people in America and wields that power with abandon.
What needs to happen, then, in order for any major moves to be made toward marijuana legalization in the U.S., is that McConnell either needs to leave his post, change his mind, or have enough Republicans find their courage to oppose the man.
While all three options are possible to varying degrees (McConnell will eventually have to leave his post because he’s not immortal), the sooner McConnell and the Republicans come around to marijuana legalization, the better it will be for pot stocks around the world.
There are certainly some roadblocks in the way, but U.S. marijuana legalization is a foregone conclusion. Some may hem and haw and others may attempt to delay it, but it seems that U.S. marijuana legalization is going to happen eventually.
What marijuana bulls want to see is this process happen sooner rather than later. That means hopefully more Republicans find their courage on this matter or a liberal wave allows for marijuana legalization to be a legitimate proposal in 2021.