Marijuana News Today: U.S. Marijuana Legalization Gains, Pot Stock Market Dips

Marijuana News Today
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Marijuana News Today

The marijuana news today is a mixed bag as another two large states push for U.S. marijuana legalization while the overall pot stock market takes a dive.

We’re now two months into 2019 without a U.S. state legalizing marijuana. That, however, is likely to change during the remainder of the year.

Both Illinois and New York—two very large, very rich states—are looking to push through recreational marijuana legalization sooner rather than later.

In the case of Illinois, the newly incumbent governor wants pot legalized “nearly right away.”

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In his inaugural address, Governor J. B. Pritzker said:

In the interests of keeping the public safe from harm, expanding true justice in our criminal justice system and advancing economic inclusion, I will work with the legislature to legalize, tax and regulate the sale of recreational cannabis in Illinois.

(Source: “Democratic-controlled Illinois sets eyes on marijuana legalization,” The Daily Northwerstern, February 24, 2019.)

The pro-pot governor is citing the class of arguments we’ve come to expect from politicians: tax revenue increases, lower crime, healthier products, etc.

At this point, he’s likely preaching to the choir.

While marijuana still faces steadfast opposition from anti-drug crusaders, the U.S. majority has come around to supporting marijuana legalization.

So while passing marijuana legislation may still face some pushback, Pritzker does have the will of the people behind him, at the very least.

In New York State, you also have an electorate where it is likely that the majority supports marijuana reform. The major difference between Illinois and New York is that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo isn’t exactly an injection of fresh blood in the governor’s mansion; he’s been in power since 2011.

While he was never the biggest opponent of marijuana legalization, he’s never been its biggest ally either.

He has changed his tune, becoming more pro-pot since his last electoral victory.

With all the momentum behind U.S. marijuana legalization, I fully expect both states to have legal recreational marijuana available for consumers by 2020.

This will mark another huge year for pot and will likely push the conversation to the national stage with the presidential election coming up—an election, mind you, where several major candidates have made marijuana reform a key piece of their platform.

For pot stock investors, being able to get in on marijuana stocks before legalization hits the U.S. will pay off with huge gains.

Companies like Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE:CGC) have already looked into entering the U.S. cannabis market via cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabis products, but the big enchilada here is total U.S. legalization, even if it is just medical marijuana to start.

While we’d love to see the U.S. go whole hog and legalize all forms of marijuana, medical pot alone would be enough to spark a huge rally in pot stocks.

Keep an eye out for a massive gain on the horizon as the U.S. inches closer and closer to legalization on a federal level.

OGRMF Stock

While the marijuana news today showed another heartening gain on the political front, the pot stock market is down to start the week.

Most marijuana stocks took hits in early-morning trading today, falling several percentage points across the board.

However, a few choice companies, including OrganiGram Holdings Inc (OTCMKTS:OGRMF, CVE:OGI), made gains. A favorite of mine, Organigram stock climbed two percent in early-morning trading, and is up nearly five percent over the past five days.

OGRMF stock is also on a high following an interview with its CEO, Greg Engel, who said that he expects sales to double in the next quarter. (Source: “Organigram Holdings Expects to Double its Sales in Q2: CEO,” SmallCap Power, February 22, 2019.)

Considering how strongly OrganiGram stock has performed so far in 2019 with its latest quarterly report numbers boosting share prices, a doubling of sales will likely send the company on another healthy surge.

It’s also worth noting that OrganiGram stock has some of the highest potential for massive gains in 2019.

Being on the smaller side is a huge bonus for the company (OrganiGram has a valuation under $1.0 billion), meaning it has plenty of room yet to grow.

Furthermore, Organigram stock has yet to land some of the major victories that have marked its competitors’ rise to prominence.

These include partnerships with outside industries and landing on a major U.S. exchange.

Both are very possible in the near future and both would help spark another run in OGRMF stock.

Overall, there are few companies that have as much potential as OrganiGram. Between very healthy numbers in its most recent quarterly report and a huge slate of potential stock-boosting moves, there are few companies I’d recommend as highly as OrganiGram.

APHA Stock

Let’s take a hard turn here, moving from one of my favorite marijuana stocks to one that has fallen from grace: Aphria Inc (NYSE:APHA). What was once one of the premier marijuana stocks available—and one that I championed in its early days—continues to underwhelm.

Aphria stock fell almost five percent this morning, while the company overall is up about 1.5% over the past five days.

APHA stock has been in the hot seat ever since its horrid performance in 2018, where it simply was not able to free itself from a prolonged slump.

To make matters worse, there are accusations that the company made irresponsible purchases in order to help boost the stock portfolios of key shareholders, rather than in an attempt to help grow the company.

While the investigation has since pushed back on the claim—though not entirely absolving Aphria—the damage has been done.

For me, APHA stock remains one of the hardest companies to justify as an investment target. There are simply too many other more impressive marijuana stocks available to get hung up on what is a damaged company.

OGRMF and APHA Stock Performances

The performances of OGRMF 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

The marijuana news today has me a little apprehensive about the present but very hopeful for the future.

The marijuana stock market has been slow out the gates this week, but that’s not really too severe a crisis.

In the long term, marijuana legalization in the U.S. is, in all likelihood, going to continue to grow. As part of this, Illinois and New York State are going to push the conversation forward when they legalize pot.