Several cannabis and hemp companies are planning initial public offerings in a bet that Democratic candidate Joe Biden will win next month’s election, Reuters reports. Representatives from Flora Growth, Gage Cannabis, BioMedican, and Vertical Wellness each indicated plans to go public next year, in part, due to the growing possibility of a Biden win in November.
The report notes that following the September 29 presidential debate, stock in cannabis companies with US operations, including Curaleaf Holdings, Cresco Labs Ltd, and Green Thumb Industries Inc, rose more than 20 percent. A post-debate FiveThirtyEight analysis suggests that Biden received a slight bump in the polls following the debate, while Republican President Donald Trump’s rating dipped slightly.
Flora Growth CEO Damian Lopez said he believes the election “will be a huge catalyst” for U.S. cannabis industry growth, adding that “regardless of who wins, more and more states are showing their support for cannabis.”
Polls also show Democrats have a strong chance at taking control over the Republican-led Senate, which would replace Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who has blocked cannabis-related legislation from reaching the floor for a vote. Last year, the Democrat-controlled House approved the SAFE Banking Act – the first time Congress had considered stand-alone cannabis-related legislation but it has not been introduced to the full Senate. The House had also scheduled a vote on the MORE Act, which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, but that vote was delayed as lawmakers turned their attention to coronavirus relief.
Michael Underhill, chief investment officer at Capital Innovations, told Reuters that Congress would need to pass bills reforming cannabis law and normalizing the industry in order to put US cannabis firms on the same regulatory plane as their Canadian counterparts. However, he said, Biden’s recent rise in the polls is “a dramatic change in expectations from three months ago, when it appeared Donald Trump would most likely win re-election.”
Biden, along with his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris – California’s former attorney general – have expressed support for cannabis law reforms. Last month, Harris said a Biden Administration would pursue decriminalization policies – which she reiterated during the vice presidential debate last week. In February, Biden said that cannabis is “at the point where it has to be, basically, legalized” but his platform does not include outright legalization.