Will Biden’s Shaky Debate Performance Affect Cannabis Reform? How A Trump Return Could Reshape Marijuana Policy

Black and White Silhouette Portrait of Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Biden vs Trump. US President on Black Background. Side View.
Illustration: Gomolach / depositphotos

This article was originally published on Benzinga and appears here with permission.

President Joe Biden’s shaky debate performance this week is stirring doubts among Democrats about his viability for reelection.


As doubts about the president’s electability circulate, questions around federal cannabis reform anticipated under Biden’s administration are also swirling.

How would a return of Donald Trump to the White House influence the future of cannabis legalization?

How Severe Were The Losses? Cannabis Stocks Ranked By Decline In Benzinga Pro

Following Biden’s debate performance, major cannabis stocks experienced significant declines, ranked here from the largest to smallest losses. Trulieve Cannabis Corp (TCNNF) led the downturn with an 11.99% drop followed by Curaleaf Holdings (CURLF) which fell 10.54%. The AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF (MSOS) decreased by 8.83%, and Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF) saw a 6.33% decline. The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (YOLO) dropped by 5.16%, and Tilray Brands by 4.05%.

Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC) decreased by 3.30%, OrganiGram Holdings Inc. (OGI) by 3.75%, and Aurora Cannabis (ACB) by 2.33%. Cronos Group (CRON) had the smallest decline at 0.43%.

Trump And The Future Of Rescheduling

At a recent panel organized by Zuanic & Associates, experts noted that if Trump addresses cannabis rescheduling and wins the 2024 election, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) could be invoked, but reversing rescheduling would likely require a new review process by the Attorney General, which woulds take about two years and face significant challenges.

Additionally, on June 21, 18 GOP state attorneys general called for a public hearing, stressing the need for detailed data and scientific review. The DEA acknowledged the complexity of reclassifying cannabis, recognizing its medical uses in the U.S.

The DOJ-initiated rescheduling process includes a proposal publication, a public comment period and a final review, aligning with international treaties.

The Red State Catalyst

Despite the federal standstill, red states have emerged as unexpected champions of cannabis legalization. Tim Seymour points out that these states are not waiting for Washington’s cue. Instead, they are pushing forward with legal markets that significantly enhance access and boost state revenues. This shift indicates a robust economic incentive driving the cannabis agenda at the state level.

In several GOP-led states, a significant shift toward cannabis reform is evident. North Carolina’s Senate approved a medical marijuana bill amidst mixed opinions within the party. South Dakota, known for its conservative views, leads the U.S. in hemp production, driven by strong local support and favorable agricultural conditions.

Arkansas is broadening access to medical marijuana, indicative of growing support for cannabis within conservative regions, aligning with GOP interests in economic development and public health improvement.

Mergers And Acquisitions: Signs Of A Shifting Landscape?

Recent mergers and acquisitions underscore this momentum. Notably, the merger between Cansortium and RIV Capital, facilitated by Scotts Miracle-Gro, aims to serve a substantial portion of the U.S. population, specifically targeting states with substantial economic influence like Florida and Texas.

Additionally, the $65.6 million equity offering by Good Day Farm highlights significant M&A activity and Republican support in the South. This includes operations across Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri, and notably in Louisiana where the company secured two medical marijuana cultivation licenses with the backing of Republican Governor Jeff Landry. The company’s political ties are further deepened by its primary shareholder, Donald “Boysie” Bollinger, a notable Republican donor, and its president John Davis who is married to State Representative Paula Davis.

The GOP And Cannabis: An Evolving Relationship

The advancing legalization in red states, traditionally Republican strongholds, suggests a nuanced position within the GOP on cannabis. This development could play a pivotal role if Trump wins the November election.

Under such a scenario, despite Trump’s previous disinterest in rescheduling cannabis at the federal level, state-driven legalization could continue to flourish, propelled by economic benefits and GOP support at the state level.

Prohibition Strongholds

Several U.S. states maintain strict cannabis prohibition, resisting the broader national trend toward legalization, including Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

As the 2024 election approaches, the interplay of federal inertia and state activism paints a complex picture of the future of cannabis legalization.

The industry’s growth, increasingly tied to state decisions and economic imperatives, may indeed continue under a GOP presidency, driven by practical rather than ideological considerations.

This article is from an external unpaid contributor. It does not represent mg Magazine’s reporting and has not been edited for content or accuracy.