Recreational Cannabis Legalization Amid COVID-19 | Money Morning

The coronavirus crash has cost state governments millions. Oklahoma Rep. Scott Fetgatter said COVID-19 relief would cost his state $220 million this year.

But Mr. Fetgatter may be onto a fiscal solution. His thoughts on legalizing recreational marijuana might not only benefit his state. They are also a potential catalyst for cannabis stocks around the country.

In fact, one of our top marijuana stocks could double this year. And that's just a start as the legal marijuana industry ascends a projected $73.6 billion peak over the next decade.

On April 1 (Wednesday), Fetgatter was reported suggesting "full access program adult use over 21" alongside Oklahoma's medical cannabis program. And it was no April Fool's joke.

Similar plans have already been enacted in other states. And with the coronavirus crisis draining budgets, even more states might consider speeding up legalization to boost tax revenue. It's all part of a cannabis legalization trend we've been anticipating in the last couple years.

Now that we're starting to see some tangible movement in that direction, it's a good time to start investing in marijuana stocks.

Here's why the Oklahoma congressman's statement is likely to materialize. We'll even discuss one of the best cannabis stocks, poised to gain 99% most from sweeping cannabis reform.

How States Profit from Marijuana Legalization

Medical and recreational marijuana sales in Colorado were $1.75 billion last year. Illinois, in just its first 12 days of recreational marijuana sales this year, sold $19.7 million from its dispensaries. Oregon sold $11 million worth in its first week.

There's no denying the benefits realized by these states.

Illinois' tax collections on legal marijuana are projected to go from $34 million in 2020 to more than $375 million in 2024.

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It looks like COVID-19 crisis could be accelerating the state adoption of similar policies. States that have lagged behind in legalization now have all the reason to pursue it.

Oklahoma might take its turn, and a similar pattern is likely to play out in other states as well.

Rep. Fetgatter's plan, similar to Colorado's, would potentially lower taxes for medical marijuana patients while taxing recreational pot. He expects the state "legitimately could see $100 million a year increases" in revenue.

We've talked for a long time about how legal marijuana stocks are going to have a big year. But while the coronavirus crash has devastated most markets, it seems like no more than a speed bump for the cannabis industry.

Marijuana dispensaries have even been considered essential across the U.S. while states are locked down. To be completely frank, marijuana is one of those "stay at home" stocks you want to watch while everyone is quarantined amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The growing sentiment for legalization comes in a year where we expected cannabis stocks to soar. States are raking in the cash. Professional athletes like Golfer Bubba Watson and celebrities like Martha Stewart are bringing cannabis to the limelight.

We even wrote in February about how Girl Scouts have begun selling cookies in front of cannabis dispensaries.

These are all catalysts for the big pot stock boom we're going to see over the next couple years. And COVID-19, rather than slowing it down, could actually make it come sooner.

Now, here's the cannabis stock that could benefit the most when that happens. This is 99% profit potential in 2020...

The Best Cannabis Stock to Buy on Marijuana Legalization

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Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. (NYSE: IIPR) is a unique marijuana investment, because it's not exactly a cannabis grower or dispensary. It's a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).

The trust specializes in leasebacks to cannabis companies. Early in the cannabis legalization movement, mainstream financial institutions have been slow to provide loans and services to cannabis firms for fear of the legal ramifications.

Innovative Industrial has been a big help leasing those firms the land they need to grow and sell their pot. Now, it collects their rent. That's not only supplied IIPR with steady cash, it's a growth area as well as IIPR continues to expand its holdings to meet demand.

And this REIT does serve some heavy hitters. Companies like Trulieve in Florida, PharmaCann in New York, Green Leaf in Pennsylvania, and Holistic in Maryland are among more than 50 clients paying into IIPR right now. These are dispensaries that have also been deemed "essential businesses" during the COVID-19 lockdown too, so IIPR is less likely to see a disruption in cash flow like other REITs might.

Innovative Industrial grew profits from $14 million in 2018 to $44 million in 2019, about 214% revenue growth. Profits also grew 228% for the year.

Some of the company's contracts go as long as 20 years, so income is certain as long as clients are paying their rent. Good thing its clients are some of the foremost dispensaries on the planet. That money goes straight to investors in the form of a 5.78% dividend yield.

The broad market slump from coronavirus outbreak has set back the stock price slightly. But that just means this stock's current price of $75 is a nice discount for today's investor. Analysts give it a high target of $151 for the year, which represents 99% profit.

Action to Take: State governments are scrambling for budget solutions amid the COVID- 19 crisis. They need to somehow pay for hundreds of millions going towards pandemic relief. Some are suggesting legal adult-use marijuana programs could be the answer. If this thinking catches on, it could be great for Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. (NYSE: IIPR). Check out this stock today for 99% profit potential over the next 12 months.

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About the Author

Mike Stenger, Associate Editor for Money Morning at Money Map Press, graduated from the Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University. He has combined his degree in Economics with an interest in emerging technologies by finding where tech and finance overlap. Today, he studies the cybersecurity sector, AI, streaming, and the Cloud.

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