Marijuana News Today: Could New York Recreational Marijuana Legalization Be on the Way?

marijuana news today 22 may
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Marijuana News Today

As is often the case, the marijuana news today centers on the future of recreational marijuana legalization in the United States. The current breaking news comes out of New York, regarding the future of marijuana in the state.

Despite often being considered a liberal state, New York only has medical marijuana legalized on the books. Even then, it is illegal to smoke pot in the state.

But New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has reportedly issued a command to the city’s police department to halt its policy of arresting marijuana smokers.

While de Blasio does not have the unilateral power to halt all prosecutions of marijuana cases, the command he issued will prevent thousands of arrests throughout the city and replace them with summonses.

Last year, 5,500 people in New York City were brought in for the crime of smoking marijuana. (Source: “NYC Mayor de Blasio tells police to end arrests for marijuana smoking,” CNN, May 21, 2018.)

Both de Blasio and the New York Police Department (NYPD) are looking into how marijuana laws are enforced in the city. The decision to end arrests is a big win for the drug and shows that the mayor is clearly looking at ways to better police the drug.

So what does this mean for marijuana stocks?

As always with U.S. marijuana news, we’re looking at what the implications are  for the bigger picture of federal marijuana legalization.

New York state has yet to legalize recreational marijuana, but as laws begin to loosen in the state’s largest and most populous city, that may lead to a change in attitude that could bring about a push for recreational pot legalization.

It’s a game of inches right now in regards to U.S. federal marijuana legalization. As each state legalizes pot, it brings the country one step closer to what I believe is the inevitable conclusion: full recreational pot legalization across the U.S.

While the marijuana news today is unlikely to push the needle too far in that direction on its own, if de Blasio and his new policies can help sway public opinion on cannabis, then New York could conceivably be the next domino to fall.

If it does, it will only add to the overwhelming number of Americans that can access recreational pot legally, despite the drug being illegal on a federal level.

That dissonance can only exist for so long before policy  catches up. As is always the case with prohibitions, rarely do we see countries roll back laws on drugs.

For pot stock investors, be on the lookout for a ballot initiative or policy changes in New York State. Such a development would likely boost stock prices in the near term while providing a boost to the overall goal of U.S. marijuana legalization.

Canopy Growth Stock

Few pot stocks have enjoyed such blazing success as Canopy Growth Corp (OTCMKTS:TWMJF, TSE:WEED) has in recent weeks.

Over the past five days, Canopy Growth stock has skyrocketed by a whopping 20%.

The company is—at the moment—on a very impressive run and has become the envy of the marijuana market.

The push is largely the result of the company’s New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listing that is set to land some time by the end of May.

When NYSE:CGC does open for trading, the company will become the second pure-play marijuana stock ever to list on a major international stock market.

The company will likely become favored by U.S. investors who are uncomfortable or unwilling to invest in over-the-counter stocks or on Canadian listings.

While I predict volatility in the Canopy Growth stock forecast—after all, the NYSE listing will bring with it a lot of hype and a potential reaction by markets—in the long run, I see this as a strong development for the company’s share price.

Aurora Cannabis Stock

Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com

Another top performer—and a company making headlines in the marijuana news today—is Aurora Cannabis Inc (OTCMKTS:ACBFF, TSE:ACB).

Aurora Cannabis stock is up eight percent over the past five days and, alongside Canopy Growth stock’s impressive run, we’re seeing the two largest companies in the industry perform strongly to close out May.

Aurora Cannabis stock has not been quiet this month, with its massive $3.2-billion acquisition of MedReleaf Corp (OTCMKTS:MEDFF, TSE:LEAF) shaking up the marijuana sector.

Following the deal, Aurora Cannabis stock will be the largest company in the sector by market cap, deposing Canopy Growth from that position.

While the deal has had mixed results for both Aurora Cannabis stock and MedReleaf stock, it seems that Aurora is finally ready to join the party and enjoy the gains that the industry made in May.

Aurora Cannabis also announced that it would be buying up a 9.14% ownership interest in CTT Pharmaceutical Holdings Inc. (OTCMKTS:CTTH). (Source: “Aurora Cannabis Makes Strategic Investment in CTT Pharmaceutical,” Nasdaq, May 22, 2018.)

While the deal for this penny stock hardly compares to the aggressive buy of MedReleaf, it is very much in keeping with Aurora Cannabis stock’s aggressive moves as of late.

CTT was up 15% in after-hours trading.

Aphria Stock

Another company that continues to impress this month is Aphria Inc (OTCMKTS:APHQF, TSE:APH).

The company was hit hard by the marijuana correction, but it has since recovered nicely over the past few weeks.

Aphria stock is up seven percent over the past five days, in keeping with its strong movement in May.

The company has been the beneficiary of renewed investor interest following cries that it was overvalued.

Aphria stock is measuring up to be one of the stronger performers this year if its gains prove sustainable.

Analyst Take

For pot stock bulls, the marijuana news today is purely positive.

On the political side, you have New York mayor Bill de Blasio pushing for laxer punishments for marijuana in one of the largest cities in the world.

Not only does this make sense from a moral perspective (arresting someone for smoking a joint hardly seems the best use of the NYPD’s resources), it will help shift public perception of the drug in the right direction. New York marijuana legalization may not be far behind.

In other stock news, we have been seeing marijuana companies near universally perform well in the past week, with gains ranging from high single-figures to 20% in Canopy Growth’s case.

The marijuana forecast is as bright as it has been all year, and that should make pot stock bulls very happy.