Could 2020 be the year that Marijuana is finally legalized in the U.S.?

If 2019 is any indication, acceptance of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes could continue gaining steam on both the state and federal levels.

In recent months, the House of Representatives took up two significant pieces of legislation related to cannabis legalization, while Illinois passed a law that would regulate cannabis the way the state currently regulates alcohol, among other developments. And approximately 18 states  are considering marijuana legislation in 2020, joining nearly a dozen others where cannabis is already legal for both recreational and medical purposes.

Read on, and we’ll recap where legalization stands.

Federal legislation

Not much can change without federal legislation, and most bills to legalize marijuana have been held up in Congress. That is, until recently.

In September, the House passed a bill that would allow cannabis producing-companies to access banks, which they currently can’t do

And in late November, 2019 the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill on Wednesday, November 20 that could lead to marijuana becoming legal on the federal level. The bill now heads to the full House for a vote, although it’s uncertain when that will happen.

Although several states currently allow recreational use of marijuana—also known as cannabis—and the majority of states have approved its use for medical purposes, marijuana is classified federally as a Schedule I controlled substance, lumped together with outlawed drugs such as LSD, heroin, and peyote.

Nevertheless, this marks the first time a cannabis legalization bill has ever passed a congressional committee. While the bill may pass the full House, it’s unlikely to pass in the Senate, according to reports.

The states and public opinion

Marijuana is currently legal for recreational use in 11 states, and 33 states have laws that allow it for medical purposes.

Two-thirds of U.S. citizens support the legalization of marijuana, according to recent research by the Pew Research Center.

About the marijuana industry

The marijuana industry is expected to add 200,000 new jobs in the U.S. by 2020, according to New Frontier Data, which provides research on the cannabis market.

Growth is expected for a long list of businesses, such as the cultivators and packagers of the plants, dispensaries for medical and recreational weed, not to mention companies creating products that use cannabis byproducts called CBDs. CBDs are non-pyscho-active derivatives of cannabis, which can be used for a variety of purposes, including helping with inflammation, chronic pain, and depression.

Companies are also capitalizing on industrial uses for cannabis, including the production of hemp, which can be used to make fabrics and textiles, as well as being used as additives to health food and body care products.

And it all makes for big business. Total legal sales of cannabis were about $10 billion in 2017, and are expected to grow to $24.5 billion by 2021, according to reports.

Investing in legal marijuana

There are now nine exchange traded funds (ETFs) dedicated to cannabis. These funds tend to invest in large public companies either developing medical uses for marijuana, or that tangentially support growing and manufacturing legal cannabis.

Stash allows you to invest in some of the leading legal cannabis companies through its Corporate Cannabis fund. The fund follows the Prime Alternative Harvest Index, which currently invests in 37 companies involved in the legal market, including Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth, Cronos Group, Green Organic, Tilray, and others.

Stash also offers Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth, Cronos Group, and Tilray as single stocks.

Investing in legal cannabis stocks, whether recreational or medical, can carry more risks than other stocks. In general, marijuana-related stocks can be volatile, meaning share prices can move up or down quickly. These stocks are some of the most volatile on Stash, and there is also some talk of pot stocks being in a market bubble.

Remember: Investing in the stock market can always involve losing money.

Stash recommends following the Stash Way, which includes regular investing, diversification, and planning for the long term.

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