What happened

On Monday, nearly the entire cannabis sector rose at market-trouncing rates. There were some eye-popping rises, with shares of Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON) closing almost 14% higher, and Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) doing even better at nearly 17%. Even persistently struggling HEXO (NASDAQ:HEXO) had a good day, climbing by just under 7%.

So what

It wasn't any company-specific news that propelled Cronos, Tilray, HEXO and other weedies higher. Rather, it seems, it was good old politics.

With the Biden/Harris ticket maintaining a substantial lead in many polls just before Election Day, the political climate for marijuana looks set to improve drastically. Sen. Kamala Harris pledged to decriminalize the drug in last month's vice presidential debate.

Illegal and Legal spelled out in dice next to marijuana leaf symbols.

Image source: Getty Images.

More importantly, the residents of five states are voting on legalization initiatives tomorrow. All but one of these votes (Mississippi) will cover the use and sale of recreational marijuana. Polling in at least three -- New Jersey, Montana, and Arizona -- indicates that citizens will vote in favor of these measures. Mississippi and South Dakota might not follow suit.

Now what

The larger marijuana companies are active in one, if not several, of these states (except for South Dakota, where the drug is currently 100% illegal).

So leaving aside eventual federal decriminalization or even legalization, assuming the voting goes their way, they will instantly have access to many thousands more potential customers. That would be a clear victory in a very challenged industry that could really use one (or several) wins.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.