Cannabis in 2020: The 5 States Most Likely to Legalize
It’s been 24 years since voters in California started the ball rolling on cannabis legalization. Back in 1996, the state became the very first to legalize the medical use of cannabis. And since that watershed moment, we’ve watched legalization spread (dare I say) like a weed across the nation and the globe.
In 2018, we watched as Canada became the first developed country to legalize the plant. And we saw publicly traded cannabis companies flood the market with stocks and investors’ pockets with profits.
But last year, in what was supposed to be another incredible year for cannabis stocks and cannabis legalization around the world, those same stocks that couldn’t stop gaining in 2018 couldn’t stop falling in 2019.
The major growers — Tilray, Aurora, and Canopy — lost 75%, 56%, and 21% respectively. And the Horizons Marijuana ETF dropped nearly 40%.
Early investors watched profits evaporate, and late investors lost their shirts. But all is not lost in the world of cannabis investing. And despite the poor stock performance and delays in legalization in new states, we expect 2020 to be an exciting year for cannabis and cannabis investors.
Making Moves in D.C.
Despite the fact that 33 states have passed medical cannabis legislation and 11 (plus D.C. itself) have fully legalized the plant, it remains illegal at the federal level. But that could start to change as early as this year...
Two-thirds of American adults support cannabis legalization. And lawmakers in D.C. are finally starting to represent their constituents instead of their own personal beliefs.
In 2019, they introduced several bipartisan reforms aimed at easing federal pressure on the growing state cannabis industries. The biggest and most important is the SAFE Banking Act.
It passed the House in 2019 but stalled out in the GOP-led Senate. Had it been enacted, it would have protected banks from federal prosecution for doing business with cannabis companies. And it would have opened the doors for massive growth in the industry.
But despite its failure in the Senate, it shows there’s bipartisan support for cannabis law reform at the federal level. And we expect to see more tenured GOP members join the freshman class in supporting federal reform in 2020. Especially with it likely to be a hot-button issue in the coming presidential race.
But even if deadlock prevails in D.C. — as it so often does — there are numerous states with hopes for passing laws decriminalizing, legalizing, and regulating cannabis this year...
More Than Ever Before
In the coming year, more voters will have the chance to pressure their legislators for legal cannabis than ever before. Based on polling, industries in neighboring states, political support, petitions, and actual bills on the ballot, I’ve come up with over 20 states with the possibility of voting on legalizing cannabis in some form in 2020.
The governors of New York, New Mexico, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island all support legalization. And of those states, all but Rhode Island are currently considering legislation or plan to draft bills this year.
And voters in both New Jersey and South Dakota have the chance to bypass their legislatures and vote directly on the matter at the ballot box this year.
Advocates are also working hard to gather signatures in 10 states — Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Oklahoma — that would put legalization measures on the ballot in 2020 as well.
Some are just pipe dreams for now. But many have a real chance to see substantial change this year.
So I’ve narrowed down the list to the five states I think have the best chance of legalizing cannabis in 2020. And I’ve included a bonus stock pick of the company that’s likely to benefit the most in each state.
Wealth Daily’s 5 States for Cannabis Reform and Pot Profits in 2020
Florida: Floridians currently have two initiatives gaining steam leading up to 2020 votes. Both have cleared the first hurdle of gathering 766,000 signatures in favor of the legislation. Medical cannabis is already legal in Florida. And it’s a multimillion-dollar business. With the third biggest population in the U.S., Florida would have a massive recreational cannabis market. And the state is missing out on the potential for up to $557 million in annual tax revenue by holding off. My favorite cannabis company with Florida exposure is Liberty Health Sciences (OTC: LHSIF). It’s not the biggest in the state. But it’s focused entirely on Florida after divesting operations in other states last year. And it stands to see massive profits if Florida makes good on its drive to legalization.
New Jersey: Now, here’s a state that really surprised me in 2019. It looked almost certain that New Jersey would legalize cannabis last year. But the legislature dropped the ball when debating how to tax the sales and the measures failed to pass. But this year, New Jersians get to decide for themselves. The politicians managed to agree to get the vote directly on the ballot in 2020. Maybe the potential for over $246 million in additional tax revenue helped convince them to act together. And with more than 60% of voters favoring legalization, it’s very likely to pass this year. Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF) is a solid stock to play the legalization rally in New Jersey. The company was one of only six to be awarded cultivation, processing, and retail licenses in the state back in 2018. It only has one dispensary operating right now, but it’s got a new cultivation facility underway and is ready to grow with New Jersey’s legal cannabis industry.
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Arizona: I’ve got Arizona as number three on my list, but it could be the most likely to legalize this year. Back in 2016, voters narrowly defeated a measure to legalize the plant. But a poll late in 2019 showed that over 50% of residents support cannabis legalization. And with the second attempt succeeding in Oregon and California, Arizona is likely to get this one on the books in 2020. Harvest Health and Recreation (OTC: HRVSF) could make an interesting play in this market. It’s got 10 dispensaries in the state. And if all of its pending acquisitions close, it’ll have more licenses in the state than any other company.
Arkansas: This state may seem like an odd one for this list. Arkansas has some of the strictest cannabis laws of states with legal medical industries. But there are currently three constitutional amendments gathering required signatures. With a Republican-leaning legislature, Arkansas is probably the longest shot on this list, but it’s still got a shot if voters make themselves heard in 2020. There are only a few companies operating in the state. And all of them are private. But the largest — and only multi-state operator (MSO) — Grassroots Cannabis was purchased by Curaleaf Holdings last year. That makes Curaleaf (OTC: CURLF) one of the only options to play the future of the Arkansas cannabis market.
New York: This is another state that was on my radar last year. New York looked like it was going to get recreational cannabis legalized. But in true New York politician fashion, something that could have helped the low-income population got screwed up royally because the governor and the legislature couldn’t agree on how to spend the money they’d be making. But this year New Yorkers get another chance. The two lawmakers who sponsored the failed 2019 bill have a new one they’ll be sending to the governor. And he’s teamed up with his counterpart in Connecticut to come up with a joint approach for the two states. With more than half a billion dollars in annual tax revenue on the line, I’m hopeful they’ll figure out their differences. When it comes to New York cannabis, I like iAnthus Capital (OTC: ITHUF). It’s already got operations in New York. And its dispensary in Brooklyn is one of only three serving a population of over 2.6 million people. Plus, with its experience in neighboring Massachusetts, it’s got a good game plan for growing in New York.
The Best Bet for Cannabis Profits
There you have my top five states most likely to legalize cannabis in 2020. And you’ve also got five companies that stand to benefit from each. But if you’re looking for the absolute best bet when it comes to cannabis profits, you’ve already got it as a Wealth Daily member.
Our analysts and experts have been helping retail investors profit from the cannabis industry before any of the companies even went public.
And we’ve led investors to massive gains like...
- 1,174% gain on Aphria
- 1,185% gain on OrganiGram
- 3,016% gain on Canopy
And that’s just to name a few. Our experts have been involved with major and minor cannabis companies since the beginning. And that’s why we’re able to get to the best investments before the rest of the pack.
So keep on the lookout for all the opportunities my colleagues and I will be bringing you throughout the year. Give our investing and stock trading subscriptions a risk-free trial. And make 2020 the year you declare financial independence.
To your wealth,
After graduating Cum Laude in finance and economics, Jason analyzed complex projects and budgets for the U.S. Army. Then, at Morgan Stanley, he led the assistants' team for the North American repo sales desk, responsible for hundreds of multibillion-dollar trades every day. Jason is the assistant editor for The Wealth Advisory income stock newsletter. He also contributes regularly to Wealth Daily. To learn more about Jason, click here.
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