- Cannabis stocks are soaring after Sen. Kamala Harris said a Biden administration would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
- Curaleaf, Harvest Health & Recreation, and Aphria are among the top gainers, though the entire sector seems to have been energized by Harris' statement at the debate.
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Of the millions of storylines emerging from the Wednesday evening Vice Presidential debate, one certainly made cannabis investors and executives happier: Sen. Kamala Harris said — to an audience of millions — that a Biden-Harris administration would federally decriminalize cannabis and expunge prior convictions.
"We will decriminalize marijuana and we will expunge the records of those who have been convicted of marijuana," Harris said during her debate with Vice President Mike Pence, the Republican incumbent. Her remarks came during a segment of the debate focused on criminal justice reform.
While it's not yet clear exactly how a potential Biden administration's decriminalization plan would work, it's a bold promise and one that's could energize young voters.
It also energized a number of US cannabis stocks, known as multi-state operators or MSOs, including Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries, Harvest Health & Recreation, and more.
Curaleaf, the biggest US cannabis company by market cap, shot up close to 9% on Thursday morning. Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries gained over 6%, and Harvest Health & Recreation gained over 10%.
Read more: Adult-use marijuana is on the ballot in 4 states, and a top Wall Street analyst lays out which cannabis stocks could get the biggest boost from legalization
On top of that, Cresco Labs gained over 5%, and Florida-based Trulieve jumped more than 3% by midday Thursday.
The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (MSOS), an ETF that tracks a basket of US MSOs, is up 3.5%. The ETF is the first ETF focused solely on US cannabis companies.
Even Canadian cannabis giants like Canopy Growth, Tilray, and Aurora Cannabis got a bump. NYSE-listed Canopy Growth is trading up over 8%, Tilray's up over 7%, and the embattled Aurora Cannabis is up close to 6% as of. But the biggest winner of the bunch so far is Aphria — it's trading up over 10%.
The recent gains are welcome for the cannabis sector, which has contended with a capital crunch, mass layoffs, and dwindling value over the past year.
Cannabis is legal for adults over the age of 21 in 11 US states, and medically legal in 33. Four states are voting on whether to legalize cannabis outright, including Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Montana. Mississippians will vote on whether to legalize medical cannabis.
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