Cannabis stocks rallied on Monday amid fresh speculation that a long-awaited measure to open up the banking system to cannabis companies may be headed toward becoming law.
Reports surfaced over the weekend that versions of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act) may be included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is expected to be introduced this week in the House rules committee.
The AdvisorShares Pure U.S. Cannabis ETF
bucked a downtrend in the broad equities market on Monday and rallied 6.3%.
Among individual stocks, Curaleaf Holdings
rose 6%, Green Thumb Industries
advanced by 4.7%, Trulieve Cannabis Corp.
rose 5.2%, Cresco Labs Inc.
rose by 9% and Verano Holdings Corp.
rose 5.2% and TerrAscend
Among Canadian cannabis companies, Tilray Brands Inc.
jumped 6.8% and Canopy Growth Corp.
moved up by 5.5%.
Also Read: Cannabis banking bill and retirement package both could actually pass Congress by year’s end, analysts say
While the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the SAFE Banking measure several times, it has yet to clear the Senate.
That effort was boosted by reports in recent days that Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, was working on getting the necessary votes to pass the measure.
Cowen analyst Jaret Seiberg on Monday reiterated a 75% chance of SAFE Banking passing Congress.
If it doesn’t make it as part of the NDAA, the cannabis banking measure could also be included in the omnibus spending bill that lawmakers take up at the end of the year, Seiberg said
As the bill approaches a potential finish line, lawmakers are still working on adding language to SAFE Banking to improve capital markets access to cannabis companies, which have been excluded from the Nasdaq and the NYSE.
“As has been the case for a few months, [the] industry is arguing that capital markets access is critical to achieving social justice objectives,” Seiberg said. “This is because those with licenses reserved for minorities are having troubleraising the needed funds. Capital markets access could expand the pool of potentialinvestors. We still see this as an uphill push, but also believe that capital markets access becomes inevitable if SAFE Banking passes.”
Raymond James analyst Ed Mills said Monday that passage of SAFE Banking would likely include clarification of language sought by the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure that they have the ability to continue investigating money laundering.
“While we are optimistic that Congress will address this issue, it’s still not a done deal,” Mills said. “Negotiators want to have sign-off by the House and Senate leadership, including the chair and ranking members of several relevant committees.”
In other positive cannabis developments, a study by the American Medical Association has shown lower use of opioid drugs by cancer patients in states with medical cannabis programs.
The study by Yuhua Bao, Hao Zhang and Eduardo Bruera sampled 38,189 patients with recently diagnosed breast cancer; 12,816 with colorectal cancer, and 7,190 with lung cancer. According to the findings published on Thursday, medical marijuana legalization carried out between 2012 and 2017 was associated with a 5.5% to 19.2% relative reduction in the rate of opioid dispensing.
“Medical marijuana could be serving as a substitute for opioid therapies among some adult patients receiving cancer treatment,” the study said. “Future studies need to elucidate the nature of the associations and implications for patient outcomes.”
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden signed the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act into law. He’s the first U.S. president to sign a standalone law on cannabis.
Also Read: Cannabis is eating into alcohol sales, analyst study shows