Weed Legalization Supported By Most U.S. Voters: This Week in Cannabis Investing

Support for recreational weed legalization at the federal level is growing among voters across the political spectrum.

Weed legalization effort on ballot, with yes box checked
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Support among Americans for federal weed legalization continues to grow. According to a survey conducted by polling firm Data for Progress, most voters – be they Republican, Democrat or Independent – support legalizing recreational marijuana at the federal level. The survey found that 65% of Americans are in favor of the legalization of cannabis. And across the political spectrum, ending cannabis prohibition was supported by 75% of Democrats, 67% of Independents, and 52% of Republicans.

"It is time for the U.S. government to right its previous wrongs from the failed 'War on Drugs' and legalize recreational marijuana while giving back to those communities who were heavily affected," concluded Data for Progress in its survey. "Our poll shows that voters are ready for the U.S. government to finally legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana. It also shows that when the U.S. government does legalize recreational cannabis, voters support passing equitable policies with it that aid minority communities, including reserving dispensary licenses for individuals affected by cannabis prohibition and diverting portions of marijuana revenue to community grant funds." 

We have been following polling data on cannabis legalization before we launched Poseidon, and the movement has shown constant growth in support. While Democrats initially led legislation around weed legalization, we are seeing more Republican states take efforts that support cannabis – like those being made toward recreational weed legalization in Florida.  These legal medical and adult-use recreational programs will lead to a decline in stigma around the plant. It's great that, for the first time, we are seeing a majority of Republicans now supporting cannabis legalization at the federal level.

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House Introduces Bill Allowing Gun Rights for Medical Cannabis Users

Unfortunately, it seems the wishes of the American people will continue to be ignored or controlled by the forces driving the agenda in our country. This week, we saw the first cannabis bill to be introduced by the 118th Congress. The bill is not about descheduling, banking (like the failed Safe Banking Act), social equity, expungement, capital markets access or even the pressing matter of resolving the 280e tax. These are the major pain points in the industry, so what else could be a priority? Well, I guess it would be un-American to overlook the importance of firearms, because that is what we got: A bill to allow medical patients to have the right to buy guns. 

GOP lawmakers in the House of Representatives are seeking to amend a federal law relating to gun sales and medical cannabis patients. Currently, medical and recreational cannabis users are barred from purchasing or possessing guns as the plant remains illegal at the federal level. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Alex Mooney (R-West Virginia), proposes reforms on the sale, purchase, receipt and possession of firearms or ammunition for medical marijuana users. 

This bill comes at a time when we are hearing about more organized crime groups sweeping through legal cannabis dispensaries in Northern California and Michigan, stealing their cash and even their ATMs. It is high time for a change in this country, and cannabis continues to be a positive change agent. We have reported on the economic improvements seen in communities that have legalized recreational cannabis. We are ready for Congress to do what the American people want now and not delay their decision until the 2024 election cycle, with the risk of seeing more failed promises. 

Lawmakers in Minnesota Are Eyeing Adult-Use Weed Legalization

Once again, we are seeing huge progress on the cannabis front at the state level. According to state-level data, Arizona and Illinois saw record cannabis sales in 2022. Lawmakers in Minnesota have seen the positive gains and are working towards legislating an adult-use recreational cannabis market in their state. 

"Minnesotans are ready," Rep. Zack Stephenson said. "Cannabis should not be illegal in Minnesota. Minnesotans deserve the freedom and respect to make responsible decisions about cannabis themselves."

There is quite a bit of work to be done with many committee hurdles to get the framework to finality, but there is real interest within the state to get it done. 

The benefits of adult-use weed legalization are bearing fruit in the newly opened Connecticut market. The Constitution State broke the $1 million mark for recreational cannabis sales just 3.5 days after launch, and it seems like a pretty smooth transition from our contacts. We have not heard about any supply constraints like in the first days of New Jersey's adult-use opening. 

"We are proud to have overseen a smooth and successful launch of the adult-use cannabis market that provided a positive consumer experience, was not disruptive to our communities or to the existing medical market, and ultimately resulted in robust and consistent sales," said Michelle Seagull, commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection, in a statement.

Connecticut is another excellent addition to the legal recreational weed market. After years of West Coast dominance, the Northeast is poised to be the nation's new national hub for cannabis. The combined populations of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut (33 million people) form a massive consumer market in the tri-state area and should generate many new opportunities for recreational cannabis brands. Perhaps this will force the issue of homogenization within the state regulatory structures, which would be a compelling idea for the industry and multi-state operators to force the federal government's hand before the industry moves further from its grips. 

Morgan Paxhia
Contributing Writer

Morgan Paxhia is Managing Director and Co-Founder of Poseidon Investment Management. With over 10 years experience in investing and finance, Morgan has developed a deep understanding of individual company analysis, portfolio construction, and risk mitigation. This content is not intended to provide any investment, financial, legal, regulatory, accounting, tax or similar advice, and nothing should be construed as a recommendation by Poseidon Investment Management, LLC, its affiliates, or any third party, to acquire or dispose of any investment or security, or to engage in any investment strategy or transaction. An investment in any strategy involves a high degree of risk and there is always the possibility of loss, including the loss of principal. This content should not be considered as an offer or solicitation to purchase or sell securities or other services. Any of the securities identified and described herein are for illustrative purposes only.  Their selection was based upon nonperformance-based objective criteria. The content presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date, but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. Past performance is not indicative of future results.