What Happened to the rise of Canna-Stock

Did one rogue Senate candidate just blow up prospects for marijuana legalization in 2022?
Rich Smith
Jan 18, 2022 at 1:08PM


What happened

Cannabis stocks are behaving rather oddly on Tuesday -- a day when news for the marijuana sector is by and large bullish.

As of 12:30 p.m. ET, shares of Sundial Growers (NASDAQ:SNDL) are falling 3.5%, Canopy Growth (NASDAQ:CGC) is down 4.6%, and Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQ:ACB) has racked up a 4.9% loss.

Burning red marijuana joint.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

And yet as I said, the news today isn't obviously bad for marijuana stocks at all. Over the weekend, Rep. Ed Perlmutter went on Colorado Public Radio to declare his intention to get the marijuana banking bill -- the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act -- passed in the House for a sixth consecutive time, and get it passed once and for all in the Senate. "I have not given up on that one," said Perlmutter. "I'm gonna get that darn thing passed this year while I still serve out my term."  

And he might even succeed. Last month, Republican Sen. Rand Paul went on Twitter to call passing marijuana banking reform (which would permit banks to provide services to marijuana businesses, making buying and selling marijuana easier) "a complete no brainer, as so many states have legalized now."

Now what

And yet, getting the bill through the U.S. Senate -- even with a Democratic majority and even with broad support from the Republicans -- continues to prove problematic. As MarijuanaMoment.com explains, despite apparent support for the law from President Joe Biden, "Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has effectively blocked ... bipartisan legislation to pass marijuana banking reform" in the Senate, insisting that marijuana be legalized entirely instead.

Now making matters even more complicated, in what appears to be a political first, over the weekend Louisiana Senate candidate Gary Chambers aired a commercial in which he smoked a blunt on camera and spoke in favor of legalizing cannabis.  

On the one hand, the fact that the ad aired at all speaks to the broad acceptance of marijuana in the U.S. today. On the other hand, if it turns out that Chambers jumped the shark here -- making public use of marijuana a bit too public -- it could alarm voters enough to reverse the tide of enthusiasm for legalization in Congress, and in particular in the Senate. In that scenario, it's possible that neither the SAFE Act nor wholesale legalization passes in this current midterm election year.

Suffice it to say that with most of the major marijuana stocks -- Sundial, Canopy, and Aurora among them -- still deeply unprofitable, the one thing marijuana investors didn't want to hear today is that the prospects of getting their product legalized in 2022 might have just gotten worse.