Obama Say Marijuana No Worse Than Alcohol, Puts Pot Stocks in Focus

Andrew Klips  |

Equities.com invites you to watch Legalized: Making Sense of the Marijuana Green Rush our ground-breaking roundtable discussion on the impact of recreational marijuana's legalization in the United States. Our amazing panel of leading experts offer incredible insights from their perspectives of the regulatory, legislative, medical and business aspects of the industry. Click here to watch now.


As Equities journalist Joe Goldman detailed last week, marijuana stocks have been especially volatile on a daily basis lately with or without news-driven events. In general, most have made big advances so far in 2013 as 20 states and the District of Columbia now have pot legalized in one manner or another. New York is raising that number to 21 states as the most recent to join the parade with Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiling a pilot plan in his State of the State Address earlier this month. Cuomo's plan is to allow medical marijuana use in 20 hospitals to help manage patient pain and treat serious diseases, such as cancer. Cuomo is making the move using his executive power, which means that new legislation is not required.

Five other states, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, have pending legislation to legalize medical marijuana currently.

Barrack Obama Weighs in On Marijuana

Further, supporters of legalizing marijuana got a vote of confidence on Sunday as President Barack Obama told New Yorker editor David Remnick:

“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

Obama made it clear that he has told his daughters to steer clear of the drug, calling it a “waste of time,” but also added that he views pot as less dangerous than alcohol in terms of the impact on the individual consumer.

Speaking to Colorado and Washington enacting laws that permit the use of recreational marijuana, the President said that, “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.” Obama noted that there are many challenges that still will be faced with the legislation, including keeping a clear distinction between pot and harder drugs before arguments start to arise about why harder drugs with more profound effects should be legal as well.

Could President Obama be Showing Support for March Towards Legalization?

What surely will surface are questions of the motivation behind Obama’s marijuana commentary, which was really only a small component of a thorough and lengthy article by Remnick. Without spitting out conjecture on driving forces, what can be gleaned is the President’s support of quickly spreading legislation that has nearly half the country’s states permitting marijuana use, at least for medicinal purposes.

The majority of Americans now support legalization of cannabis. The most recent Gallup poll three months ago showed that 58 percent of those surveyed now support legal marijuana. That's up from 48 percent a year earlier.

Subscribe to get our Daily Fix delivered to your inbox 5 days a week

Marijuana Companies Could Benefit From Legitimacy

This is all providing ample fodder for pot stock bulls that are already speculating about what is going to happen in Florida as supporters seek to have a constitutional amendment for medical marijuana in Florida added to the 2014 ballot. Legislation approving medical marijuana in the Sunshine State, regarded as a high-population bellwether, could trigger a domino effect of approvals throughout the South. Last Wednesday, Ben Pollara, the campaign manager for United for Care, said that more than 1.1 million signatures have been collected in Florida, a sufficient amount to see it added to the ballot, provided that the Supreme Court can approve the language that will be used for the vote.

Cumulatively, the recent events are enough to give marijuana stocks quite a boost so far this year. Here’s a look at some of the popular plays, where they are trading today and how they have performed so far in 2014:

Marijuana Stock Plays

Company & Ticker Current PPS 2014 Gain
Medical Marijuana Inc. (MJNA)   $0.1912 +25.48%
GrowLife Inc. ($PHOT) $0.18 +21.19%
Cannabis Science (CBIS) $0.108 +109.90%
Nuvilex, Inc. (NVLX) $0.133 +30.39%
Medbox, Inc. (MDBX) $38.60 +111.39%
CannaVest Corp. (CANV) $40.26 +41.26%
Endexx Corp. (EDXC) $0.184 +148.65%
Fusion Pharma (FSPM) $3.00 +525.00%
GreenGro Technologies (GRNH) $0.42 +854.55%
Hemp, Inc. (HEMP) $0.046 +131.16%
Tranzbyte Corp. (ERBB) $0.0075 +158.62%
Terra Tech Corp. ($TRTC) $0.31 +125.93%
MediSwipe, Inc. (MWIP) $0.341 +207.21%
Plandai Biotechnology (PLPL) $0.52 +112.24%

For some thoughts on major tobacco companies and their potential to one day become big players in the marijuana business, check out Equities writer Jacob Harper’s thoughts on the matter here.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer.

Market Movers