According to politicians speaking at a SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, “there’s a narrow window for federal cannabis legalization.”
The first cannabis session of the conference focused on why federal legalization has not seen any progress. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D), a long-time marijuana legislation advocate, said he was more optimistic than he had been eight months ago, per Green Market Report.
A Cannabis Legalization Panel
Blumenauer criticized Sens. Booker and Schumer “for not being able to bring a vote on measures passed by the House, saying that their desire for perfect legislation resulted in nothing getting accomplished.” However, he believes senators are more willing to compromise this time around.
Republican Rep. Nancy Mace said she doesn’t have a lot of hope legalization will happen this year. But, if something happens “it would need to be done before June.” After June, the focus will be on the presidential election, which could delay legalization for another two years, she added.
Blumenauer said he thought the reason Biden carried Arizona was because cannabis was on the ballot. Mace noted that Biden could use cannabis as a strategy for reelection, employing rescheduling as a way to garner more votes.
An Analyst View: How Does Legalization Affect US Cannabis Stocks?
Cantor Fitzgerald’s Pablo Zuanic says the lack of progress on the scheduling review of cannabis and the number of states legalizing recreational marijuana “will increase pressure on AG Garland to finally outline the DOJ’s ‘marijuana policy’ in what could likely be a 2nd version of the Obama administration’s Cole Memorandum.”
In the analyst’s view, “CL2 could have significant implications for the industry, as it could lead to the uplifting of US cannabis stocks and bring in more financial services firms to the industry.”
Regarding the SAFE Banking Act, Zuanic said it “is far from dead,” expecting mirror versions of SAFE to be filed in the Senate and House late this year. He also noted that the lead on SAFE is now Congressman David Joyce (R-OH). “We think it is good for the process that a Republican is seen as the main driver of SAFE.”
Meanwhile, cannabis stocks react to the news on the bill. “At least from a trading perspective, we expect positive news flow in 2H23, which will generate upside pressure for MJ stocks,” Zuanic said.
Cole Memo II: “On the subject of marijuana reform, the DOJ is juggling three efforts (…) Establishing a process to pardon people who have committed federal cannabis possession offenses, directing the HHS/DEA to review the scheduling of marijuana, and setting a DOJ marijuana policy,” Zuanic wrote in his recent analyst note. “In our view, a Cole Memo II would be enough for the stock exchanges to uplist US cannabis stocks. In fact, we believe IIPR (the leading REIT in the space) has the original Cole Memo to thank for its NYSE listing,”
Meet Pablo Zuanic and Ohio Rep Dave Joyce in person as well as many other industry players at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference. Join us at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel in Florida on April 11-12. Don’t miss out. Secure your tickets now. Prices will surge very soon.
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