Why Marijuana Stocks Lit Up on Thursday

What happened

Marijuana stocks exploded higher in late-day trading Thursday, with Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQ: ACB) closing the day up 11%, Canopy Growth (NASDAQ: CGC) gaining 11.4%, and Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY) tacking on an astounding 21.8%.

It's no great secret why: Federal marijuana legalization is getting a vote in Congress.

American flag with marijuana plants in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

As all-things-cannabis news source reported Thursday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives has scheduled a vote on marijuana legalization for next week -- only the second time in history that such a bill has made it to the House floor for a vote.

Officially titled the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, the legislation "would remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances and promote social equity in the industry," notes The House Rules Committee will begin preparing the bill for floor action on Monday, including figuring out any amendments that might be voted upon.

That accomplished, the bill will move to the floor for a vote by the full House. The exact date for the vote has not yet been determined.

Assuming the bill passes (as it did the last time it came up for a vote, in December 2020, by a vote of 228 to 164), it will move to the Senate for consideration.

Now what

Success is not assured. Last time the MORE Act made it to the Senate, it died there. Also worth noting is that the Senate is working on its own marijuana legalization bill, the Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act (CAOA), and if it passes that one, then the two legislative bodies would need to reconcile their two bills and create one final compromise bill to send to President Biden.

Even then, success would not be assured, as -- at last report -- the president was himself personally opposed to legalizing cannabis.

That being said, hope springs eternal for marijuana sector investors, and at the very least, the fact that a bill is moving forward in the House means that there's some forward momentum here. The more votes marijuana legalization wins in whichever house chooses to pass it, the better the odds that at some point in the not-too-distant future, the stars will align and a bill of this type will become law.

Once that happens, cannabis companies can finally get to work on transforming legal sales of marijuana into actual cash profits for their shareholders.

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Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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