Cannabis stocks received a big boost after the vice presidential debate Tuesday night between Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence. The Hill has reported that Harris said the Biden administration would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
Shares of cannabis producers soared on the stock market Thursday. During a conversation about cannabis at the debate, Senator Harris said, “we will decriminalize marijuana and we will expunge the records of those who have been convicted of marijuana.”
Harris, who has been a longtime supporter of legalizing marijuana, introduced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act along with Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) last year. The legislation would declassify marijuana as a federally controlled substance and authorize a 5% sales tax on marijuana and marijuana products, among other stipulations.
“Times have changed — marijuana should not be a crime,” said Harris while introducing the bill. “We need to start regulating marijuana, and expunge marijuana convictions from the records of millions of Americans so they can get on with their lives. As marijuana becomes legal across the country, we must make sure everyone — especially communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs — has a real opportunity to participate in this growing industry.”
According to Reuters, various stocks on the NASDAQ related to the marijuana industry shot up on Thursday, including Cannabis stock tracker MJ ETF MJ.P, which rose 5.5% and Tilray Inc TLRY.O, which increased 19.2%. Additionally, U.S.-listed shares of Canopy Growth Corp WEED.TO, Aphria Inc APHA.TO and Aurora Cannabis Inc ACB.TO closed between 10% and 13% higher than normal.
A vote was supposed to take place in the House back in September on federally decriminalizing the substance but it was delayed until after the upcoming election. Moderate Democrats had opposed the vote, saying that more pressing issues, such as a COVID-19 stimulus package and a government funding bill, were more important.