Marijuana News Today: Pot Shortage in New Jersey

marijuana news today 23 may
iStock.com/ChrisGorgio

Marijuana News Today

To carry on with a recent trend, the marijuana news today is once again coming out of the United States. This time, we’re taken to New Jersey, where pot shortages are showing just how desperate some parts of the U.S. are for legal marijuana expansion.

Many patients in recent weeks have complained that wait times at dispensaries have increased while certain cannabis strains have been harder to come by.

This is being seen as a result of an influx of medical marijuana patients in the New Jersey market. (Source: “Medical marijuana shortages and longer lines await new patients,” NJ.com, May 23, 2018.)

The new patients are coming in as Governor Phil Murphy launched an expansion program for New Jersey marijuana that permitted people with more common conditions—like anxiety and chronic pain—to register for medical pot.

The move brought in an estimated 5,000 patients since the beginning of the year, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.

Considering that the program only had about 16,000 registered patients before Murphy took office, the addition of over 5,000 new people to the program is certainly straining the system.

Some estimates show that as many as 100 new patients have been registering for medical marijuana every day.

So, what does this mean for pot stocks?

One of the biggest hindrances to the cannabis supply in the U.S. is the federal prohibition on marijuana that all but prevents the shipment of marijuana across state lines.

This means that each state that legalizes the drug is individually on the hook to create its own cannabis supply.

Obviously, this puts a lot of pressure on state-level production. And when states see large increases in patients, they aren’t able to import the required supply.

The more problems that we see crop up like this, the more we’re likely to see calls by state providers for the federal government to loosen its marijuana laws.

After all, it is highly inefficient from a market perspective to make each state provide for itself rather than have the grow operations situated in states that would provide the highest yields for the lowest costs.

It’s simple economics that is right now being hindered by legislation, something that the Republicans often abhor.

While there are increased pushes by senators on the left to change federal legislation regarding marijuana, those changes are still far away.

Problems like the ones faced in New Jersey are only going to continue to crop up until trade is allowed to flourish in a natural way in order to serve the millions of consumers of both medical and recreational marijuana.

MedReleaf Stock News

In the wake of the largest marijuana deal in history, I expected MedReleaf Corp (OTCMKTS:MEDFF, TSE:LEAF) to come out on top. It appears that I was overly optimistic.

 

Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com

 

MedReleaf stock has seen little to no movement in the past five days. When companies are the target of acquisitions—especially ones with such huge price tags ($2.5 billion, in this case)—they are often the primary beneficiaries of the deal.

But MedReleaf stock took a fall after its initial rise, with Aurora Cannabis Inc (OTCMKTS:ACBFF, TSE:ACB) taking its place as the top marijuana stock.

Aurora Cannabis stock and MedReleaf stock have been unable to see gains in conjunction, instead of taking turns.

I expect that, in the long run, Aurora Cannabis stock will see strong growth as a result of its increased production capacity.

But there is a high degree of volatility right now—with both MedReleaf stock and Aurora Cannabis stock—that makes the near-term forecast for both these stocks harder to predict.

CRON Stock News

Another marijuana stock that hasn’t seen much movement in May—contrary to the strong gains made by many other companies in the industry—is Cronos Group Inc (NASDAQ:CRON).

The company was the darling of the cannabis sector for a short while after it joined the Nasdaq, becoming the first pure-play marijuana stock to do so.

But that goodwill from investors has since subsided, with the Cronos being called out by some analysts as overvalued.

I’ve gone back and forth in my forecast of CRON stock, but I think that it’s safe to say that, despite the many positives that Cronos has going for it, I believe that the company will have a tough time keeping up with the rest of the industry.

CRON stock rose too high, too fast after its Nasdaq listing. I wrote at the time that the company’s continued success would be predicated on it being the sole marijuana stock on a major exchange.

But, as you’ll see below, that is no longer the case.

With one of the company’s major features challenged, it will be harder for CRON stock to challenge the major players in the marijuana market.

While the company has increased its international presence and has made smart moves that would seem to position it for gains in the future, I’m not particularly bullish on CRON stock at the moment.

Canopy Growth Stock News

While Canopy Growth Corp (OTCMKTS:TWMJF, TSE:WEED) is no longer going to be the biggest marijuana company by market cap following the Aurora-MedReleaf acquisition, that has done little to affect the company’s performance in May.

Canopy Growth stock continues to perform this month, with more than 21% in gains over the past five days.

The company will soon be joining CRON stock as the second pure-play marijuana company to list on a major international stock exchange. Canopy Growth stock, however, will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The NYSE:CGC ticker is the primary motivation behind the push.

I don’t expect gains this high to be sustainable for long, and there very well could be a bit of a correction on the stock, but I am very bullish on Canopy Growth stock in the long term as it becomes a target of U.S. investors and prepares for the Canadian marijuana legalization later this summer.

Analyst Take

The laws in the U.S. surrounding marijuana are, as we all know, a little absurd.

The marijuana news today only serves to highlight the fact that there is a high demand for cannabis. The federal government’s prohibition of the drug is harming both the industry and the consumer.

Market forces are essentially chained, not allowing consumers more choice, cheaper prices, or even—in the case of New Jersey—enough supply.

As problems like this continue to develop, the push for full legalization will only intensify until we see the federal laws on marijuana legislated out of existence.

Meanwhile, the month of May continues to see gains nearly across the board in the legal marijuana industry.

Stocks are on the rise and it appears that this summer is setting up to be a nice one for the marijuana sector.