State ballots and the departure of Jeff Sessions have led to fresh confidence in the cannabis sector.

  • The cannabis industry is going through a period of huge growth.
  • Two states recently voted to legalize medical cannabis and one voted to legalize recreational cannabis.
  • The departure of Jeff Sessions removes a significant block for the industry.
  • A variety of strategies—some focused on product and others on support services—are emerging to make the most of this market.

Cannabis companies are in a jubilant mood following the results of last week’s events in American politics. At the polls, two states voted to legalize medical cannabis while another voted to permit its recreational use. Though Congress lost several pro-cannabis Republicans, a majority for the Democrats, America’s less conservative party, is a good omen for reform. And with President Trump’s sacking of Jeff Sessions, the country is now rid of a staunchly anti-cannabis attorney general.

This opens the way for companies with strong cannabis strategies to make bold moves in the coming year. From entering new states to producing fresh product lines, the options for growth and development are many.  A few key considerations define the strategies of the current cannabis players.

Choosing which states to operate in is an important consideration for American cannabis companies. Although it is widely anticipated to change, cannabis currently remains illegal at a federal level, and it is only through state-level initiatives that the market has been allowed to emerge. Cultivation and retail effectively operate on a statewide scale at best, so looking at where a state stands now and where it is likely to go in the future is vital to making savvy business decisions.

Arizona, where Generation Alpha recently acquired cultivation and processing facilities, provides a useful example of how local conditions shape the market. The state made medical cannabis legal in 2010. Despite a closely fought vote, opponents of cannabis have failed to overturn or limit the market despite ongoing campaigns. The state’s supreme court even overturned a rule keeping medical cannabis off college campuses. Arizona’s medical cannabis market seems secure.

In 2016, an attempt to legalize recreational cannabis in the state failed by a narrow margin. Medical legalization faced a similar setback in 2002, only eight years before passing. As recent generations are generally more liberal toward cannabis than their elders, it is likely that a similar pattern will play out for recreational cannabis, with a successful vote almost inevitable. Companies that have become established under the medical licensing laws will be in a strong position to make the most of this.

“We are excited about this opportunity in Arizona and its growth and profitability potential,” said Generation Alpha CEO Alan Lien. “We are pleased to have partners such as Future Farm Technologies and Yorkville Advisors to collaborate and support the build-out and growth of this facility. Our collective experience and knowledge in cannabis will position this Arizona operation for success. We are excited to commence Phase 1 of the development and construction of our state-of-the-art cultivation and processing facility and look forward to many additional opportunities in the cannabis industry.”

The next few years promise solid growth for the cannabis industry in North America. Even before this month’s political upheavals, analysts projected that the $9 billion industry would grow to $47.3 billion by 2027.

The fallout from the mid-terms means that investors can be even more confident about what happens next. The forced resignation of Jeff Sessions removes one of the biggest obstacles to growth for the cannabis industry in the United States. Sessions, a staunch opponent of cannabis, had rescinded the Obama-era memo committing federal law enforcement to non-intervention in state-level cannabis industries. With him gone, cannabis shares rose as businesses and investors looked forward to a more tolerant regime.

This won’t mean an end to campaigning for MedMen Enterprises, Inc. (CSE: MMEN) (OTCQX: MMNFF), the largest financial supporter of progressive marijuana laws, but it does mean that the company’s campaigning efforts are more likely to pay off, creating space for expansion of its cultivation and retail business. The company already operates 19 facilities in four states and has recently announced the addition of a fifth, through a move into Arizona. Despite the limitations created by federal laws, MedMen is showing that cannabis companies can operate on an inter-state level.

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