Another Big Step Toward Full-Blown Legalization

Written by Jason Simpkins
Posted January 25, 2019

Hold on to your hats, or your stash, because marijuana is about to take another big step toward full-blown legalization.

There’s going to be a rupture. And it’s been a long time coming.

Here’s the deal…

As you no doubt know, marijuana legalization has been advancing at a rapid pace… on the state level.

Ten states — Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Michigan, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine — and the District of Columbia have legalized at least a small amount of marijuana for recreational use.

And seven more states — New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Illinois, and Rhode Island — could follow suit this year.

Broadening out, 22 states have decriminalized marijuana, and 33 have approved it for medical use.

Of course, it’s been a different story on the federal level.

There, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote. (FYI that means it’s somehow considered more dangerous than OxyContin, cocaine, and Vicodin.)

Furthermore, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an ardent anti-cannabis advocate, repealed the Obama-era "Cole Memo," which prohibited the Justice Department from enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that had legalized it.

And if that weren’t all bad enough, several powerful Republican lawmakers made it their personal mission to keep marijuana legislation off the House and Senate floors.

Mercifully, though, the landscape has shifted in just the past few months.

Jeff Sessions was removed, paving the way for incoming Attorney General William Barr, who’s already telegraphing a far more lenient approach.

While Barr has stopped short of pledging to restore the Cole memo, he said in his confirmation hearing that he would “not go after companies that have relied on the Cole memorandum” nor would he “upset settled expectations and reliant interests” related to it.

Barr also essentially called on Congress to adjust federal laws to accommodate green states, and companies, once and for all.

“If we want a federal approach, if we want states to have their own laws, then let's get there and let's get there the right way," he said, calling the current dichotomy “untenable.”

But that’s not all.

It gets better.

Weirdly, Jeff Sessions wasn’t the only Sessions blocking progress on marijuana laws.

Texas Representative Pete Sessions was just as bad, if not worse.

Pete Sessions used his position as the chair of the House Rules Committee to block or roll back amendments that protected legal marijuana in the 30 states that have approved it in one capacity or another.

Sessions killed multiple marijuana amendments, including one that gave veterans better access to medical marijuana, and another that would have prohibited the Justice Department from interfering with state marijuana laws (essentially codifying the Cole memo).

Well, Pete Sessions lost his job last November, when he was voted out of the House. Taking his place as Chairman of the House Rules Committee is Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern, who’s already said he’s “not going to block marijuana amendments like my predecessor has done.”

And McGovern is just one of many pro-pot Democrats who suddenly find themselves in control of the House.

The House Judiciary Committee is now chaired by New York’s Jerry Nadler, another consistent supporter of cannabis reform. He’s used the word “inappropriate” to describe pot’s classification as a Schedule I drug.

And Nancy Pelosi is the first pro-cannabis Speaker of the House since Henry Clay grew hemp on his Kentucky plantation.

So the House is looking good.

And there’s already numerous cannabis bills that have been waiting to be introduced, or reintroduced, from the last Congress with bipartisan support.

That includes:

  • The CARERS Act: Protects medical cannabis programs and expands access to cannabis for veterans.
  • The Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act: Makes the Cole memo law.
  • The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act: Removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act drug schedules.
  • The STATES Act: Enables financial institutions to enter the legal cannabis market.
  • The Marijuana Justice Act: Decriminalizes cannabis and enacts additional criminal justice reforms.

These aren’t hyper-aggressive, partisan bills; they’re common-sense laws that break down federal barriers to an industry states have rapidly embraced.

Congress could easily remove marijuana from the list of scheduled drugs and end federal marijuana prohibition this year.

The laws could easily pass the House, and while the Senate could deny them, it wouldn’t be easy.

That’s because 66 senators now represent states where federal marijuana laws have been repudiated in the state legislature or at the ballot box.

Indeed, marijuana reform, if not outright legalization, is one of the few issues with broad bipartisan support across the country.

And in 2020, 33 Senate seats will be up for grabs — 21 held by Republicans and nine of those in states with some form of legal marijuana.

Make no mistake, things are about to start moving very quickly for marijuana.

And that’s why now is the perfect time to get Jimmy Mengel’s latest report on cannabis companies that double as takeover targets.

As the Investment Director of The Marijuana Manifesto, Jimmy has been following this trend from the very beginning, and handing off huge gains to investors. However, his latest report is for his Crow’s Nest advisory.

Fight on,

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Jason Simpkins

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Jason Simpkins is Assistant Managing Editor of the Outsider Club and Investment Director of The Wealth Warrior, a financial advisory focused on security companies and defense contractors. For more on Jason, check out his editor's page. 

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