Marijuana stocks see boost after Harris debate comments
Shares of cannabis producers soared on the stock market Thursday following the vice presidential debate, during which Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) announced the Biden administration would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
“We will decriminalize marijuana and we will expunge the records of those who have been convicted of marijuana,” the Democratic vice presidential nominee said.
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 percent, and Tilray Inc TLRY.O, which increased 19.2 percent. Additionally, U.S.-listed shares of Canopy Growth Corp WEED.TO, Aphria Inc APHA.TO and Aurora Cannabis Inc. ACB.TO closed between 10 percent and 13 percent higher than normal, according to Reuters.
Multiple states have decriminalized marijuana, but it still remains illegal at the federal level.
A House vote on federally decriminalizing the substance originally scheduled to take place in September was delayed until after the elections. Moderate Democrats opposed the vote, saying that other issues, such as a COVID-19 stimulus package and a government funding bill, were more pressing.
Harris, a longtime supporter of the legalization of marijuana, introduced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act alongside Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) in 2019. The legislation would declassify marijuana as a federally controlled substance and authorize a 5 percent 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.”