Many of the 2020 political races have been tight, but there was one clear winner in the election -- the marijuana industry. Even though some votes were still being counted as of mid-afternoon on Wednesday, it's apparent that all five states that had legalization measures on their ballots passed those initiatives into law.
Of the five, three states -- New Jersey, Arizona, and Montana -- were deciding whether to legalize the consumption and sale of recreational marijuana. In all three cases, residents voted in favor by a comfortable margin.
Meanwhile, residents of Mississippi went to the polls to decide on medical marijuana. Due to convoluted state politics, voters were first asked whether they desired such legalization at all, and if so, which of two measures would carry the day. Mississippians opted for the comparatively less restrictive initiative No. 65, which will allow patients with any of 22 qualifying medical issues to buy cannabis with a doctor's recommendation.
Finally, in the most dramatic development with legalization, voters in South Dakota -- formerly a state that prohibited all forms of marijuana -- elected to sanction the drug for both recreational and medical use.
The share prices of numerous American multi-state operators (MSOs) active on the retail side of the cannabis business rose in response to the votes. One big winner was Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF 0.94%), which is headquartered in Chicago. As such, Green Thumb's base is not far from two of the states (South Dakota and Montana) that are going fully legal.
In mid-afternoon trading on Wednesday, Green Thumb's stock was trouncing the S&P 500 index, rising by 4.8% against the latter's 2.8% gain.