Marijuana News Today: Oklahoma Legalizes Medical Marijuana, Bright Future for Medical Pot Stocks

marijuana news today 27 June
iStock.com/Denise Hasse

Marijuana News Today

The marijuana news today has another big win for medical marijuana stocks as Oklahoma voted to legalize medicinal cannabis. Not only that, but the state proposal is one of the most comprehensive and permissive medical marijuana bills to date.

The deep red state of Oklahoma is yet another example of how the national conversation surrounding marijuana in the U.S. has changed. This is no longer a Republican-Democrat divide, or even a progressive-conservative dichotomy either, it’s simply the majority versus the minority. (Source: “Oklahoma Voters Legalize Marijuana For Medical Use,” Forbes, June 26, 2018.)

At this point, it is undeniable that a larger share of Americans are in favor of marijuana legalization than aren’t—and that share only continues to grow.

In Oklahoma, the proposal passed by a margin of 57% to 43%, and allows doctors to recommend cannabis as a treatment for any medical condition they see fit.

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While not recreational marijuana legalization, that’s about as close as you can get. Most other states, for instance, put out a list of acceptable uses of medical marijuana, but Oklahoma has decided to eschew that process and leave it up to the discretion of medical professionals.

Legal patients will receive state ID cards and be allowed to possess three ounces of cannabis in public and store up to eight ounces at home.

The proposal also allows for the cultivation of six mature plants and six seedlings.

Furthermore, the punishment for possession of 1.5 ounces or less without an ID card, alongside a stated medical condition, will receive a punishment no harsher than a fine.

“Public support for medical marijuana access is non-partisan,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a statement. “Even in a predominantly ‘red’ state like Oklahoma, it is the will of the voters to enact common sense, yet significant marijuana law reforms.” (Source: Ibid.)

Another aspect of the Oklahoma marijuana legalization that is truly impressive is that the win for medical marijuana seems organic; the campaign did not appear to receive significant funding from major national drug policy initiatives.

The opposition, meanwhile, reportedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads to prevent the proposal from passing.

And that is very much in keeping with the current trend in U.S. marijuana. There are very few places left in the U.S. where the majority of people oppose marijuana, with Oklahoma not being one of them.

The state is also looking to implement a seven-percent retail tax that would be applied to medical marijuana sales, giving a healthy boost to the government coffers.

Still, it’s not all rosebuds in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R) is not quite on board with the proposal.

She said last week that she was prepared to call lawmakers into a special legislative session this summer to address provisions which, in her view, essentially allow “recreational marijuana in the state of Oklahoma.” (Source: Ibid.)

Still, the governor’s attempt to deny the will of the people is a risky play that—unless polling numbers show otherwise—would not be advisable for a politician seeking reelection.

And this brings us to medical marijuana stocks and just how bright the future looks.

With yet another state legalizing the drug, the increased push in both legislative houses to get substantial work done on marijuana reform, and the first official approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of a prescription cannabis treatment, you have all the makings of a great year for medical marijuana stocks in the U.S.

GWPH Stock News

Seeing as how the marijuana news today is so high on medical marijuana stocks, let’s start with one of the largest players in the sector: GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ:GWPH).

The company’s epilepsy treatment—the drug “Epidiolex”—gained approval for prescription use in the U.S. by the FDA earlier this week, sucking up most of the headlines and otherwise painting a rosy picture for the future of medical cannabis in the U.S.

Unfortunately, however, the success of Epidiolex as the first ever cannabis-derived drug to be approved for market by the U.S. has not translated into stock gains.

In fact, GWPH stock is down about three percent since the week began, in keeping with an overall pullback in the marijuana industry.

Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com

GWPH stock, while not being hit as badly as other stocks, tends to have a more muted stock chart with lower highs and higher lows, so this is very much par for the course for the pharmaceutical company.

Still, the weak performance of GWPH stock even with the help of Epidiolex is troubling. I would caution investors to wait for the first round of sales figures on the drug to come in before abandoning ship, as a strong quarterly report with significant Epidiolex movement could help boost GWPH stock.

CGC Stock News

One of the hardest-hit stocks so far this week was Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE:CGC), and that makes sense.

CGC stock is one of the most trusted and traded marijuana stocks around. As such, when it gained big last week, a massive correction was likely in store, although I will admit that the correction is hitting harder than I expected.

My initial projection was that CGC stock would see a big gain—alongside pretty much the entire industry—when the Canadian marijuana legislation passed, to be followed by a moderate pullback.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen virtually all the gains from last week wiped out.

Whether this downward trend continues or not is irrelevant in the long run: there will certainly be another boom this summer for marijuana.

Still, the severity of the correction is troubling.

Aurora Cannabis Stock News

Another marijuana stock that saw much of last week’s success wiped away was Aurora Cannabis Inc (OTCMKTS:ACBFF, TSE:ACB).

Aurora Cannabis stock is down double-digits so far this week, putting it in much the same position as CGC stock.

Again, I don’t expect this correction to last long. Even if it does, I doubt it will severely hamper the future gains to be made this summer.

Still, it does show a certain lack of long-term confidence from investors in the industry, and is making me rethink some of my earlier optimism.

There’s still a lot of potential in the marijuana industry this summer, but I would caution investors to be ready for stark corrections following massive gains like we saw last week.

Analyst Take

As I predicted, we’re seeing a pullback this week in the marijuana industry after massive gains were made following the passing of the Canadian marijuana legalization bill.

This is not to be unexpected, but that doesn’t make it any more welcome.

Marijuana bulls are seeing those much-desired gains from last week all but disappear as the investors once again grow skittish and withdraw from the market.

But the overall trend is still very much positive for marijuana.

With the U.S. passing more and more pro-pot legislation and the overall conversation surrounding marijuana changing, this summer is still gearing up to be one of the better seasons for pot.

How much of that success is reflected in the stock market in the short term, however, is the tricky part.