Marijuana stocks are growing like weeds (pardon the pun) on Thursday. As of 2:40 p.m. EDT, Hexo ( HEXO -6.30% ) stock has risen 2.4% and Tilray ( TLRY -6.18% ) shares are up 2.9%. Canopy Growth ( CGC -3.57% ) and Sundial Growers ( SNDL -4.73% ) have gained 3.2% each.
And believe it or not, you may have a board member of the National Credit Union Administration to thank for it.
By now you're surely familiar with the situation surrounding efforts to legalize marijuana in Congress. The U.S. House of Representatives passed its SAFE Banking Act (a law legalizing banks doing business with cannabis companies) last month. The Senate is hemming and hawing about whether it wants to pass that law first as well, and legalize later -- or hold out for a broader bill that will fully legalize cannabis in one fell swoop.
Which way the Senate will go remains to be seen. Today, however, the former head of the government's National Credit Union Administration, current board member Rodney E. Hood, advocated a bird-in-the-hand approach, saying the SAFE Banking Act should be passed first "to clarify banking rules for the legal cannabis industry now, rather than standing by while states construct an ad hoc system of conflicting banking rules."
"The ultimate legalization of marijuana at the federal level is a foregone conclusion," argues Hood in an Op-Ed published on Marijuana Moment today. But why wait for that to happen, when legalizing banking operations with marijuana companies can already be accomplished today?
Currently, 36 states permit medical marijuana use and 18 allow adult recreational use. Pennsylvania looks next in line to make it 19 states, and Oklahoma may not be far behind to make it 20. Tulsa World reported today that a cannabis advocacy group just filed to put legalization on the ballot in that state as welld.
As Hood argues, with weed legal in so many places already, "regularizing and harmonizing federal law and regulations to expand access to the banking system ... is a necessary step." While regulatory issues remain -- which may require a comprehensive legalization bill eventually -- at the rate things are going, calling legalization a foregone conclusion sounds pretty accurate.