What happened

As the trading week winds down, marijuana stocks are moving up once again. In the final 15 minutes of trading Friday, shares of Aurora Cannabis (ACB 0.95%) are up 4.2%, Hexo (HEXO) is up 4%, and Aphria (APHA) is hanging onto a 3.6% gain.

So what

There's no company-specific news on the wires today to explain why these stocks in particular are rising. There is, however, a pretty sizable slew of news about the progress of marijuana legalization in general.

Across the U.S., 17 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 36 states permit cannabis to be used for medicinal purposes. This week, Virginia moved to join the legal marijuana party, with Gov. Ralph Northam legalizing recreational marijuana beginning July 1.    

Elsewhere in the country, marijuana news aggregator MarijuanaMoment.net reports progress on legalization initiatives in both Louisiana (a positive committee vote on medical marijuana) and Minnesota (with a floor vote in the House expected in May), while in Montana, the state senate is working on a bill "to implement and tax recreational marijuana in Montana."  

Stock chart going up with marijuana leaves growing out of each peak

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

The news isn't all good on the legalization front. In the U.S. Senate, Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown is said to be "tempering expectations" about Senate passage of a bill to permit banks to provide services to marijuana businesses, in states where the drug is legal, without fear of federal prosecution.

That being said, Brown is said to be consulting with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer -- who supports marijuana legalization. As more and more states jump on the legal marijuana bandwagon, and with a clear majority already on board, the writing is on the wall.

Sooner or later, nationwide legalization is going to happen, and today, investors in the marijuana stocks seem happy to wait for as long as it takes for that to happen.