What happened

I have to admit: When I took a look at the declining share prices of marijuana stocks earlier this week, and concluded investors in the cannabis sector might be getting worried about the implications of a new bill that would legalize psychedelic drugs in California -- I half thought I was seeing things, jumping at shadows. But the evidence really does seem to be adding up toward the conclusion that psychedelics may be following the same path to legalization that marijuana blazed before them.

Investors don't seem to know precisely what to make of this development, however. In Friday trading, for example, we saw shares of Aurora Cannabis (ACB -6.78%) close up 3.7%, while cannabis stocks like Charlotte's Web (CWBHF -5.95%) and Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF -3.27%) headed in the other direction -- down 2.9% and 3.8%, respectively.

Psilocybin magic mushrooms under a red glow.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

All of this happened, of course, on a pretty slow news day for the marijuana sector -- but a busy one for psychedelics. First and foremost, cannabis news source MarijuanaMoment.com spent Friday following up on its California story with a new piece describing how "Portland activists" are also pushing to "decriminalize psychedelics cultivation, gifting, and community ceremonies."

Already, Oregon voters have voted to legalize "psilocybin therapy" in ballot initiatives, but this still leaves some risk of "criminalization," reports Marijuana Moment. To remedy that, residents of Portland are urging their local government representatives to pass a law specifically authorizing possession and use of psychedelics. And according to the website, similar movements are afoot in Michigan, Massachusetts, and yes, California, too.

Hopping aboard this already-moving train on Thursday, stock market news site TheFly.com interviewed Matt Stang, the CEO of "psychedelic wellness" company Delic Holdings. Stang argued that psychedelic drugs have a role to play to help peoples' mental wellness, and extolled the "huge opportunity" for medicinal psychedelics. In the course of the interview, he also pointed out Delic's role in all of this, and how it is working "really hard to get insurance coverage" of psychedelic drugs. 

Now what

Now, how does all the above explain the divergent reactions among marijuana stock prices today? Honestly, I'm at a loss to explain why Aurora Cannabis stock is up on today's news. The reactions of investors in Charlotte's Web, on the other hand, and in Green Thumb Industries, are a bit more logical, and along the lines of how many investors reacted to the earlier news of California's moves to legalize psychedelics.

Simply put, at the same time as marijuana investors are on the cusp of seeing their product legalized at the federal level, so that companies (and investors in those companies) can more easily profit from it, we now see the emergence of psychedelic drugs as a potential rival for consumers' dollars. Psychedelics may not be nearly as far along as cannabis on the path to legalization, but they do appear to be heading in the same direction.

I have to imagine that when marijuana investors first set out on this journey, this was not the outcome they expected.