Hemp Legalization Trend To Drive Tobacco Stocks

Saturday, Mar 21, 2015

While tobacco stocks have relatively lofty valuations, they stand to benefit better than any other big business from the highest potential growth industry in America, that of hemp, cousin to marijuana, which had a 74% growth rate in 2014, to $2.7bn. The benefit of industrial hemp, which is non-psychoactive, and marijuana, both part of the cannabis family, is economic as well as health for people and planet. Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than an astounding 250,000 products. China, Russia and South Korea account for 70% of the world’s industrial hemp supply, with 30 other nations accounting for the remaining 30% share. Meanwhile, due to Federal law, America is the only industrialized nation with no industrial hemp production (outside of research uses), and is therefore dependent on imports with a negligible $300 million in annual retail sales.

From production and packaging to marketing, Big Tobacco is already equipped to own and operate the promising and swiftly legalizing cannabis industry. Further, tobacco has been researching and developing its entry into the market, once legalized on a national level, for decades. National legalization is now only a matter of time with over half of states already legalizing cannabis in some shape or form, including four states and DC in the recreational space, bills under discussion in Congress for national legalization, substantial lobbying and funding from the likes of George Soros, and over half of Americans voting for legalization, 51% to 58% in recent polls. Cannabis legalization is as simple as a presidential order to the DEA, or a Congressional vote, to remove cannabis from the drug schedule. Indeed, in an interview with VICE News on 16th Mar., President Obama said, “At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may then reschedule marijuana.”