Marijuana News Today: Post-Election Honeymoon Over as Fears Grow About Next Attorney General

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Marijuana News Today

That was a short honeymoon. In the marijuana news today, the post-midterm election weed stock rally fizzled on concerns that President Donald Trump is looking to replace outgoing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with someone who is also opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana use.

Virtually the entire marijuana stock market was in retreat this morning.

To recap, cannabis stocks took flight on October 7 after U.S. voters in three states voted to legalize pot. Michigan became the first Midwest state to vote in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana while Missouri and Utah gave the thumbs up for medical marijuana use. North Dakota, however, rejected the idea of legal recreational marijuana use.

Investors celebrated, sending many marijuana stock prices up on Wednesday.

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Marijuana advocates got even higher on Wednesday after it was announced that anti-cannabis Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned. This opened the door to the idea of Trump filling the position with someone who is more progressive on the issue of legalizing recreational marijuana use.

Those celebratory tokes were short-lived though. Although Trump has suggested that he supports states’ rights to decide on the marijuana issue, he has never hinted that recreational marijuana use would become legal on a federal level. In fact, most now think that Sessions’ departure will not result in the appointment of a pro-cannabis attorney general.

Word on the street is that Trump is looking at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to step in as attorney general. This would be a step backward for the weed industry, since Christie is opposed to legalizing marijuana.

Another name being considered is Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, who has said there is “no such thing as medical marijuana.” (Source: “‘No such thing as medical marijuana,’ Health Secretary says at Dayton-area visit,” Dayton Daily News, March 2, 2018.)

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is also apparently on the list. Bondi supports Florida’s ban on smokable medical marijuana. (Source: “Pam Bondi doesn’t want us to smoke weed,” Orlando Weekly, August 7, 2018.)

And then there’s Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer. He too is a potential candidate for attorney general, and he has said that marijuana “can deteriorate your brain.” (Source: “Giuliani to investors: Horses and unions, good; marijuana and China, bad,” Fortune, May 30, 2014.)

As it stands, it doesn’t appear as though Trump’s advisors are steering him toward considering an attorney general who is even remotely progressive on pot. And investors are taking note.

Tilray Inc

Tilray Inc‘s (NASDAQ:TLRY) share price went sky-high after it was announced that Sessions was resigning. Tilray stock was up by as much as 30% after Sessions resigned. The stock closed that day up more than 28%.

But this morning, TLRY stock essentially erased all the gains made since then.

Chances are good that Tilray’s share price will fluctuate over the first two trading days next week. The company reports its third-quarter results on November 13.

In the second quarter, Tilray beat on revenue but missed on earnings. Despite the earnings miss, the company’s share price has since rallied more than 115%.

How will Tilray stock respond next week if it misses earnings expectations again? Will TLRY stock continue to defy gravity?

Canopy Growth Corp

Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE:CGC) stock was also in the red this morning after celebrating the resignation of Sessions.

CGC stock traded in a tight range for all of September and the first half of October before being hit by the market-wide sell-off. Canopy Growth stock has rebounded, but it’s still trading just below its 50-day moving average.

Still, when it comes to long-term growth, Canopy Growth is one to watch.

It has 10 production sites with over 2.4 million square feet of production capacity, with operations in eight countries across five continents.

In addition to a number of lucrative partnerships, in August, Canopy Growth announced a much-hyped deal with Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ.B), opening the door for globally available cannabis-based drinks. (Source: “Constellation Brands to Invest $5 Billion CAD ($4 Billion USD) in Canopy Growth to Establish Transformative Global Position and Alignment,” Canopy Growth Corporation, August 15, 2018.)

Marimed Inc

Not as well known as its larger peers, Marimed Inc (OTCMKTS:MRMD) should be on your radar.

A provider of turnkey solutions to cannabis cultivators, producers, and dispensaries, MRMD stock has been bullish all year long. MariMed stock is up more than 500% year-to-date.

In addition to helping other cannabis companies get up and running, MariMed markets its own brand of cannabis-infused products.

In August, MariMed announced that its second-quarter revenue advanced 81% year-over-year to $2.9 million. Second-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increased 50% to $1.0 million. (Source: “MariMed Grows Revenue 81%, Triples Assets Year over Year for Q2 2018,” MariMed, Inc., August 15, 2018.)

During the second quarter, MariMed tripled the size of its assets to $45.4 million and increased its cash on hand from $1.3 million on December 31, 2017 to $5.1 million on June 30, 2018.

Yes, MariMed is a smaller cannabis company, but it’s included in the North American Marijuana Index and it has reported strong year-over-year revenue growth in every quarter since 2016.

TLRY, CGC, ACB, & CRON Stock Performances

The TLRY stock (dark blue line), CGC stock (green line), ACB stock (orange line), CRON stock (yellow line), and APH stock (purple line) performances from the past week are seen on the chart below:

Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com

Analyst Take

The wider acceptance of medicinal and recreational marijuana during this week’s midterm elections is a plus for the marijuana industry. At the same time, the departure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not as big a win for the cannabis sector as everyone thought.

It now appears that President Trump is looking to replace Sessions with someone who is just as opposed to legalizing marijuana. That would be a major (if temporary) setback for the U.S. marijuana industry.

Moving forward, I expect the cannabis sector to be somewhat volatile, at least until companies start reporting results that include revenue from after the October 17 legalization of recreational pot in Canada.

Even then, it will take a few quarters for investors to see just how lucrative the recreational marijuana industry is in Canada.

As always, making short-term predictions about the cannabis sector is difficult, but the long-term outlook remains extremely bullish.