Marijuana News Today: Pot Stocks Rally Following New Jersey Pot Legalization Proposal

Marijuana News Today
iStock.com/Darren415

Marijuana News Today

The week started off quiet for pot stocks, but it has turned around with a fury. The marijuana news today sees huge gains across the industry following a New Jersey marijuana legalization plan being presented. Meanwhile, Aurora Cannabis stock soared after the company brought on a billionaire activist investor as an advisor.

First, we’ll cover the politics.

Marijuana legalization in the United States was certain to expand in 2019, much like it did in 2018. Several states are signaling their intentions to legalize pot, with New Jersey being the latest to make a big push.

The Garden State is looking to become the 11th state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana. And there are good odds that the legislation will be passed—provided we don’t see a major public backlash.

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The New Jersey State Congress is controlled by Democrats, as is the Governor’s Mansion. The legalization bill in question, in fact, was proposed by the governor himself, Phil Murphy.

“Legalizing adult-use marijuana is a monumental step to reducing disparities in our criminal justice system,” said Murphy. “After months of hard work and thoughtful negotiations, I’m thrilled to announce an agreement with my partners in the Legislature on the broad outlines of adult-use marijuana legislation.” (Source: “Marijuana stocks rally after New Jersey governor, lawmakers unveil plan for legal weed,” CNBC, March 12, 2019.)

Among other things, the legislation outlines the taxation policy for cannabis, with a two-percent tax on cannabis products for municipalities that house cultivators or distributors within their jurisdictions. Cities and townships that house retailers will receive revenue of three-percent tax on products sold, while cannabis growers would be hit with a $42.00-per-ounce tax.

The taxation issue is very important regarding the future of cannabis. We’ve seen black markets continue to thrive despite marijuana legalization in several regions due to high taxes causing legal cannabis prices to inflate relative to the those found in the black market.

This is a problem that lawmakers will have to deal with, finding that sweet spot between adding enough government revenue and keeping prices low enough that consumers don’t simply return to the cheaper black market.

All things considered, the news in New Jersey is another major victory for marijuana.

Remember that U.S. marijuana legalization up to this point has been primarily initiated through direct referendums. If New Jersey marijuana legalization is passed by its legislature, that would be just the second time that we’ve seen state politicians lead the charge on weed instead of waiting for the public to vote on the issue first.

Politicians rarely do anything without ensuring that it will increase their electability. What’s happening in New Jersey shows that marijuana is quickly becoming a mainstream issue with mainstream support.

That reinforces the point I’ve been making for months now: marijuana is gaining widespread acceptance and U.S. marijuana legalization on a federal level is not far behind.

While roadblocks still exist, ultimately we’re as close as we’ve ever been to pot legalization in the United States. When that day finally hits, pot stocks will see gains that will make your mouth water.

ACB Stock

Aside from the New Jersey marijuana legalization proposal making headlines in the marijuana news today, we have Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE:ACB) making big waves with its addition of activist billionaire investor Nelson Peltz as an advisor.

ACB stock surged following the announcement, gaining 10% in early-morning trading today and gaining more than 12% over the past five days.

According to Aurora’s press release, Peltz will “work collaboratively and strategically to explore potential partnerships that would be the optimal strategic fit for successful entry into each of Aurora’s contemplated market segments.” (Source: “Aurora Cannabis up 15% after billionaire activist investor Nelson Peltz is hired as an advisor,” CNBC, March 13, 2019.)

“I believe Aurora has a solid execution track record, is strongly differentiated from its peers, has achieved integration throughout the value chain and is poised to go to the next level across a range of industry verticals,” said Peltz in the same press release.

Peltz is a respected figure on Wall Street for his investing prowess. Being an activist investor, expect him to make a big mark on Aurora Cannabis.

This is another sign that the marijuana sector is maturing quickly from an emerging industry to an established one, with plenty of gains to be found during the transition.

With that in mind, ACB stock remains one of my top marijuana stock picks.

HEXO Stock

Another big name making waves in the marijuana news today is Hexo Corp (NYSEAMERICAN:HEXO). This morning, the company announced its acquisition of Newstrike Brands Ltd (OTCMKTS:NWKRF, CVE:HIP).

The deal will see Hexo’s production capacity expand while putting the company firmly in eight Canadian provinces. (Source: “HEXO Corp to acquire Newstrike Brands Ltd.,” Globe Newswire, March 13, 2019.)

The company will also gain access to an indoor growing facility that will further boost production capacity.

Newstrike is based in Toronto, giving the Quebec-based Hexo a better foothold in Canada’s largest market.

HEXO stock climbed by more than three percent in early-morning trading today, while the stock has gained five percent over the past five days.

This is another solid win for a marijuana stock I was already bullish on before, signaling that HEXO stock will remain one of the stronger players in 2019.

CRON Stock

With the marijuana news so replete with good tidings, stock price gains were seen across the legal cannabis industry—even among companies that didn’t make any major announcements today.

Cronos Group Inc (NASDAQ:CRON) was one of the biggest beneficiaries. CRON stock gained three percent in early-morning trading today, offsetting what has otherwise been a tough few days, with the stock seeing a drop of three percent over the past five days.

Cronos stock is still strongly positioned, however.

Just last week, the company closed a deal with Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO), maker of “Marlboro” cigarettes. The agreement will likely see Altria assume full control of Cronos in the coming years, with the tobacco giant already claiming a huge chunk—45%—upon completion of the deal.

The deal was heralded as a huge win for Cronos and has played no small part in the stock’s excellent run this year. In any case, I continue to be very bullish on CRON stock.

ACB, HEXO, and CRON Stock Performances

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

Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com

Analyst Take

The marijuana news today has me excited about the future of pot.

New Jersey marijuana legalization is likely to be the next domino to fall in the growing pile of U.S. states where pot is legal. Better yet, politicians are taking up the task themselves rather than deferring the decision to the people through direct votes. That speaks to the newfound acceptance of weed among the electorate.

On the marijuana stock market, we saw ACB stock and HEXO stock lead the pack this morning with big upward moves, while the industry in general has been seeing a stock price surge today.