In addition to the U.S. presidential election, the cannabis legalization movement has a lot riding on the November election.
It’s been another difficult year for marijuana investors, with the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ 0.14% down 39.5% in 2020. However, the election could be a major catalyst for cannabis stocks, especially multi-state operators (MSOs).
On Thursday, DataTrek Research co-founder Jessica Rabe took a look at the latest polling data in the four states that are voting on recreational cannabis legalization initiatives in November.
State-By-State Breakdown: In New Jersey, a new poll by law firm Brach Eichler found that 65% of likely voters support legalization, suggesting recreational legalization is likely.
In Arizona, a recent poll conducted by Smart and Safe Arizona found 57% of likely voters support recreational cannabis legalization, but a poll by OH Predictive Insights this week found only 46% of respondents support legalization compared to 45% who do not.
In South Dakota, a marijuana opposition group recently found that 60% of respondents favor legalization.
Finally, a University of Montana poll back in February found that 54% of potential voters support statewide legalization in Montana.
Federal Disappointment: Rabe said New Jersey could be key in triggering a cannabis domino effect among neighboring states.
“Should New Jersey allow retail sales, it will show all the tax revenue and jobs its neighboring states are missing out on, especially amid huge budget shortfalls and job losses due to COVID-19,” she said.
Unfortunately, cannabis investors have little to be excited about on the federal level at the moment. Neither President Donald Trump nor Democratic nominee Joe Biden support federal legalization, which Rabe said is one of the primary reasons for the weakness in cannabis stocks this year.
“Should the tipping point for federal legalization not come this election cycle, this group will continue to struggle with a limited addressable market and fragmented industry,” Rabe said.
Benzinga’s Take: The best thing that could happen for cannabis investors may be for the election race to tighten heading into its final weeks. Biden could feel pressure to use the cannabis legalization issue to rally more voters to the polls if he feels he is losing momentum heading into Election Day.
This story originally appeared at Benzinga.