Must-Know: Cannabis Legalization in Minnesota


Nov. 18 2019, Published 6:19 p.m. ET

Cannabis legalization is picking up pace in more US states. Currently, marijuana is legal in the District of Columbia and 11 states. Minnesota legalized medical cannabis in 2014. Minnesota voters are now stepping forward to legalize recreational cannabis as well. Let’s see what’s happening in the state.

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Minnesota gearing up for cannabis legalization

In September, Minnesota’s state legislators conducted surveys to determine how the public feels about legalization. The state’s House and Senate conducted separate surveys. According to a Marijuana Moment article, the House survey showed 56% of voters favoring legalization. The survey had had 11,200 participants. Meanwhile, the Senate survey had 6,900 participants, of which 55% favored legalization.

Additionally, Governor Tim Walz noted, “My agencies have been tasked to put all of the building blocks in place, from Revenue to the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health. We will have everything ready to go, and we will be able to implement it in Minnesota the minute the Legislature moves this.”

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Can vaping issue complicate cannabis legalization in Minnesota?

However, nationwide vaping issues could pose a challenge in the state’s legalization process. An October 31 Star Tribune article stated that opponents of marijuana legalization see this vaping concern as an opportunity to stand against legalization.

Furthermore, Minnesota House of Representatives’ majority leader Ryan Winkler believes that legalization could help resolve the state’s concerns about black market sales and vaping. He said, “I will say with certainty there will be a comprehensive bill that will be the most thoughtful approach in the country.”

On October 17, Bruce Linton, Canopy Growth’s former CEO, noted that full-scale legalization could help reduce black market sales and address vaping concerns.

Republicans could oppose legalization in the state

For any bill to be passed as a law in the US, it must be approved by both the House and the Senate. The US Senate is currently controlled by the Republican majority, and surveys show that many Republicans oppose marijuana legalization. A survey by Pew Research showed 55% of Republicans favor federal legalization while 44% oppose it.

This is also the case in Minnesota, which has a Republican-controlled Senate. A Harvard study shows that 49% of Democrats support legalization while 50% of Republicans oppose it. So, the fate of cannabis’ legalization in the state could be entirely dependent on voters and which party is in power.

Minnesota Senate majority leader Paul Gazelka, a Republican, believes that vaping-related concerns could slow down the legalization efforts by the Democrats and the state’s governor.

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However, it appears that Democrats could push forward for legalization in the state in the 2020 elections. Because public support is on the rise, it wouldn’t be surprising if more states step up for legalization. In August, Morningstar Research reported that New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Rhode Island could be next to legalize marijuana.

What’s happening in the cannabis industry?

The cannabis sector has had a rough year so far. The sector’s difficulties were driven by various factors, including regulatory concerns and lower revenues. Last week, three major cannabis players reported their earnings. Investors and analysts had high expectations that these results could be a turnaround factor. However, they fell short of expectations. To learn more, please read Top 5 Reasons Why Cannabis Earnings Disappointed.

Canopy Growth (CGC) (WEED) fell short of analysts’ revenue estimates. It also reported EBITDA of -155.7 million Canadian dollars. To learn more about Canopy’s results, please read Canopy Growth Stock Falls after Weak Q2 Earnings.

Cronos Group (CRON) also missed analysts’ revenue estimates. Additionally, it reported EBITDA of -23.93 million Canadian dollars. To learn more about Cronos’ earnings, read Cronos Group’s Q3 Earnings: Good or Bad News?

Aurora Cannabis’ (ACB) revenue rose 153.57% year-over-year, but missed estimates. Also, it reported EBITDA of -39.67 million Canadian dollars. To learn more about ACB earnings, please read Aurora Cannabis: Good or Bad News for Its Q1 Earnings?

Last week, the cannabis sector ended the week in the red. The sector’s stocks also started this week in the red. At 12:35 PM ET, Aurora Cannabis stock was down 15.3%. Canopy Growth stock was down 6.3% while Cronos Group was down 3.6%. The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (HMMJ), which tracks the North American cannabis industry, is down 4.3%.

For cannabis-related news and insights, please check 420 Investor Daily.


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