U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions just rescinded an Obama-era policy that protects states with legal marijuana laws from federal interference.
We're not surprised.
Sessions is a longtime, staunch opponent of marijuana, who once claimed, "good people don't smoke marijuana" while warning a Senate panel about the "dangers" of the "gateway drug."
Now it seems as if Jeff Sessions is trying yet another tactic to enforce his views of cannabis on U.S. states in the aftermath of California's recent move to total legalization.
As of this morning, Sessions nixed the "Cole Memo," which is essentially a policy of non-interference by the federal government with marijuana-friendly state laws.
Even though the memo will be rescinded, it's not immediately clear whether Sessions will issue new guidance in its place or simply revert back to older policies that left states uncertain about enforcement of federal law.
Industry experts and marijuana enthusiasts alike are concerned about what this decision (if enacted) could mean for the budding marijuana industry. Marijuana investors across the board have become skittish on the news of Sessions' announcement.
But they don't need to worry - and neither do you. This is just a last-ditch effort from Sessions to regain some authority with his supporters.
The legal marijuana industry will carry on and continue to be profitable for years to come. Here's why...
States Want (and Need) Legal Marijuana
Revenue collected from legal marijuana is the primary reason why 29-plus states have legalized.
In fact, "The discovered revenue from regulated legal cannabis markets can be a lifesaver to local law enforcement, substance abuse counseling, and other social services," said legal cannabis consultant Leslie Bocskor to Forbes on April 11, 2017.
For example, Colorado put $16 million toward affordable housing grants and loans in 2016 from cannabis tax collections.
Extra cash for things like infrastructure projects and schools is just a glimpse at what legal marijuana tax revenue could do for state economies. Marijuana legalization is even being touted as a solution for states suffering from pension crises, like Kentucky.
Revenue aside, states are also fed up with the high costs of prosecuting those who have been charged with marijuana crimes.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy campaigned on this very issue - and won.
"The fact of the matter is that New Jersey has the widest white/non-white gap of persons incarcerated in America...the biggest contributing factor is our low-end drug crimes," said Murphy in his final debate, on Oct. 18 of last year.
"[I want to] legalize marijuana so police can focus resources on violent crime," claims Murphy on his website.
He has vowed to completely legalize cannabis within his first 100 days in office.
America Has Spoken for Legal Marijuana
Public opinion of legal marijuana is rapidly improving.
In fact, Gallup's most recent poll showed a record-high percentage of Americans now support legalizing marijuana: over 64%.
This marks the highest level of public support in history since the contentious topic was first measured nearly five decades ago. In 1969, only 12% of Americans surveyed were in favor of legalization. Now, that number has quintupled.
But here's the most critical finding...
While most Americans have consistently supported legal marijuana since 2013, this is the first time that Gallup has recorded a majority in Republican support for legalization. 51% percent of Republicans told Gallup that marijuana should be legal, up from 42% last year.
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What's more, Republican support is accelerating. Legal marijuana support from Republicans grew 21% between 2004 and 2016, but leapt 9% just this year.
Even Republican legislators are publicly showing their support...
"I know that medical marijuana can do some things that other medicines can't. I'm for alleviating pain and helping people with illness," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to Rolling Stone in September.
Jeff Sessions Is More Bark Than Bite
Jeff Sessions has a multitude of hurdles to jump through if he really wants to change the way America deals with legal pot, and it's highly unlikely that any of his "actions" will cause the marijuana industry's success to reverse course.
A federal attack on legal marijuana at this stage is simply unfeasible. The Justice Department lacks both the training and the resources to crackdown on legal marijuana in each of the over 29 states that have legalized.
Moreover, scaling up for a war on marijuana businesses would no doubt be unpopular with Sessions' key supporters.
There are many campaign promises the Trump administration will realistically need to address long before marijuana - notably, immigration - and marijuana enforcement is nowhere near the top of the wish list for the vast majority of Republicans.
As the market writhes in unnecessary panic, now is the perfect buying opportunity for investors.
In fact, if you're considering buying pot stocks for the first time, today's events have created an attractive entry point into the industry.
And we've made it easy for you to get started...
In this interview, Money Morning Director of Technology & Venture Capital Research - and marijuana stock expert - Michael Robinson shares details on three tiny pot stocks set to explode following California’s Jan. 1 marijuana legislation.