Prior to the recent US election, I believed that the significant grassroots support for legalisation of marijuana meant that its legalisation at a federal level was only a matter of time. And in fact, the recent voter approvals in eight states reaffirm that the population as a whole would likely support such a move. However, the recent announcement of Jeff Sessions as President-elect Trump’s candidate for Attorney General means Federal legalisation is no longer just around the corner. As recently as April 2016, Mr Sessions was quoted as saying that “Good people don’t smoke marijuana”, so it is unlikely to be legalised under his watch.
I think that the tobacco industry is likely to be the most interested in marijuana as a source of future growth, with many companies already giving serious consideration to the crossover potential with vaping. But until it is legalised at a federal level, nothing can be done. Nevertheless, support among the general population is growing, and like gay marriage, we think it may be a case that over time overwhelming public support could sweep away previous social norms.
As for other international markets, moves are afoot to legalise marijuana for medical or recreational use in a variety of countries, including Canada, Germany, Israel, Mexico and Italy.
Watch this space.
Rosie Bichard – Newton, a BNY Mellon company
For a longer (pre-US election) article on this topic, head to Newton’s blog