Marijuana News Today: New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Progresses, HEXO Stock Soars

Marijuana News Today
iStock.com/Kazyaka

Marijuana News Today

The marijuana news today is a whirl of activity as New Jersey marijuana legalization moves forward and HEXO stock explodes.

First, New Jersey marijuana legalization is one of several ongoing stories about marijuana legalization in the United States. Several U.S. states are considering passing bills that would legalize pot, each of them making varying degrees of progress.

In the case of New Jersey, a marijuana legalization bill will eventually be put to a vote by the state Senate and Assembly. Committees in the state Congress have been advancing the measure, despite long delays and “back-room wrangling.” (Source: “NJ Lawmakers Advance Bill to Legalize Recreational Marijuana,” U.S. News, March 18, 2019.)

Despite having a Senate and Assembly totally controlled by Democrats—and a pro-marijuana legalization governor—there is no guarantee that New Jersey would become the 11th U.S. state to legalize pot.

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While the debate over marijuana is a tired one in which arguments from both sides have been heard for ages now, some aspects of the bill may make it harder to push through.

For instance, there is a criminal record expungement element contained within the bill that some lawmakers have taken issue with. One sticking point for some lawmakers is the clearing of records of people who had more than five grams of pot in their possession upon arrest and are therefore now considered felons.

That is one of the downsides to pushing marijuana regulation through the legislature without holding a public referendum on the issue first. A referendum win would mean there’s a public mandate to pass the bill, whereas a regular bill, which has no such mandate, could fail and disappear.

So while it is a positive sign that states are increasingly gaining the confidence to put forward marijuana legalization without resorting to a direct vote by residents first, it’s frustrating for marijuana bulls to see marijuana legalization be stalled due to all the horse-trading that is endemic to the process.

Don’t get me wrong, I very much support the expungement of records relating to marijuana crimes. It’s the right thing to do. But the fight over expungement and the fight over marijuana legalization are two very different things that ought to be solved separately if trying to do both simultaneously will ultimately sink both propositions.

In any case, marijuana legalization in New Jersey seems to be continuing apace and, despite the pushback, I believe that New Jersey will become the 11th state to permit recreational pot.

HEXO Stock

The marijuana news today is very positive when it comes to the marijuana stock market. Many pot stocks were up in early-morning trading, but none can rival Hexo Corp (NYSEAMERICAN:HEXO) and its early-week surge.

HEXO stock climbed by over six percent in early-morning trading today and is up by nearly 30% over the past five days.

This is largely being motivated by a very strong quarterly report. That report saw gross revenue increase 1,269% versus the same period last year and increase 144% from the previous quarter.

Hexo Corp produced 4,938 kilograms (about 10,886 pounds) of dried cannabis in the quarter, an increase of 39% over the previous quarter. Some 2,689 kilograms (about 5,928 pounds) of that was sold, an increase of 142% from the last financial report.

“This is an exciting time for HEXO as we continue to achieve milestones on the way to becoming a top two cannabis company,” said Hexo CEO Sebastien St-Louis. (Source: “HEXO reports over $16.2 million in total gross revenue in the second quarter of fiscal 2019,” Globe Newswire, March 14, 2019.)

Combine that with the company’s acquisition of Newstrike Brands Ltd (OTCMKTS:NWKRF, CVE:HIP) and the resulting increase in reach and production capacity, and you have the makings of a great week for HEXO stock.

I’ve long been bullish on HEXO Corp and this week is only reinforcing a point I’ve been making for a while now: this is a strong, savvy, and—most importantly—undervalued marijuana stock that investors ought to keep a close eye on.

APHA Stock

Another marijuana stock that climbed in early-morning trading today was Aphria Inc (NYSE:APHA). While not attaining the heights of HEXO stock, APHA stock gained over two percent in early-morning trading and is up nearly 10% over the past five days.

Aphria stock recently received approval to expand its operations in Leamington, Ontario, Canada—a win for the company that will allow it to increase production capacity.

Still, despite the victory in Leamington and its gains over the past few days, there are still a lot of question marks surrounding APHA stock.

While the company has been able to remove itself from the shadow of the scandal that plagued share prices for much of 2018 (it involved making poor acquisitions to boost other holdings of key stockholders), the company still has a long way to go before it can regain my confidence.

It’s not even a matter of Aphria stock being all that terrible. Instead, it’s simply that, since there are so many great marijuana stocks, why settle for a mediocre one?

At this point, APHA stock definitely has value for day traders. But for those looking to buy and hold, there are simply far better options.

As such, it is hard to justify a reinvestment in the company until it can begin to register solid, sustained gains over a long period of time and prove that it has fully recovered. Until then, I’d be wary of the volatile Aphria stock.

HEXO and APHA Stock Performances

The performances of HEXO stock (black line) and APHA stock (blue line) over the past week are seen on the chart below:

Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com

Analyst Take

It was busy in the marijuana news today: New Jersey marijuana legalization is coming closer to being finalized and the marijuana stock market saw most stocks reaping gains this morning.

It’s safe to say that it was a very positive start to the week for marijuana stocks, with HEXO stock in particular showing very impressive gains.