Two Florida Congressmen, Matt Gaetz (R) and Darren Soto (D), introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would reclassify marijuana as a Schedule III drug. If the bill were to become law (doubtful, but not impossible), the new classification would make it easier for people to obtain medical marijuana and easier for researchers to obtain cannabis for further study.
Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, a class including heroin and LSD. A reclassification would place marijuana in the same group as anabolic steroids, Tylenol, and codeine.
More important, perhaps, would be the lifting of restrictions that currently restrict banks from providing services to marijuana-related businesses in states where medical marijuana is currently legal.
In their joint press release the Congressmen noted:
Recent polling suggest 93% of Americans support legalizing doctor-prescribed medical marijuana. Rescheduling makes it easier to conduct research into marijuana’s medical uses with lighter regulation. The benefits of rescheduling marijuana would benefit local economies. Small businesses in the marijuana industry would finally have the legal ability to meet the needs of patients. Legal status would lead to more businesses receiving loans and banking services from financial institutions.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a long-time opponent of marijuana legalization, last week directed a task force he established in February to “undertake a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the Department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime … .” The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety has a target date of July 27 to produce recommendations.
Why the First Marijuana ETF May Pose Serious Problems for US Investors
With the explosive growth in medical and recreational marijuana in America, a slew of emerging companies have come public and brought new interest by investors in recent years. With there being an exchange traded fund (ETF) for just about every single investment strategy, it might have just been a matter of time before a true marijuana ETF came to market.
Back in 2014, 24/7 Wall St. pondered what a marijuana ETF might actually look like. Now the markets are getting their first real look at an ETF tackling the medical marijuana sector. The Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on April 5, 2017. This was said to be the first ETF that will have exposure to North American companies that operate in the medical marijuana bioengineering and production fields.
There is absolutely no denying that a marijuana ETF will generate some investor interest. While this may be a first for true ETF investors, unfortunately, many U.S. investors might have a very hard time investing in this ETF. There are some serious barriers and risks that investors need at least to consider before jumping blindly into the strategy of investing in marijuana.
For starters, the Trump administration’s initial communication to the public indicated to expect greater enforcement of marijuana laws. Then there is the issue that very few such companies are large enough and have other characteristics that would qualify for a true Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange listing, and that may mean companies with managers who are not business people or with too few employees or directors. Also, many U.S. investors do not have easy access to buy stocks in OTC Bulletin Board and Pink Sheets listings without filling out additional approval forms in their brokerage accounts.
Read more at 24/7 Wall Street.