CANNAINVESTOR Magazine November / December 2016 - Page 139

It seems like all of us, including the Trump campaign, have been taken somewhat by surprise. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The best illustration (of this) is there were no prepared policy statements or papers. Whereas in 2012 Romney’s team had hundreds of pages’ worth of federal policy transitions planned and written out, Trump’s team had (as of Wednesday) literally no pages. “To quote Mike Pence, admittedly out of context, “Can you believe this?” Well there it is. I think many of us are grappling with the alternative reality that is Trump, but it happened. Coming to terms with it and understanding what it means for our industry, and my own business, is the task at hand.

And this is where the parallel paths of “totally bizarre” and “not such a big deal” start to become distinct. It is strange to be in the middle of what feels like a cataclysmic event and, at the same time, get the sense that this is not going to be a really big deal for cannabis. Let’s take a look at the markets. The Marijuana Index has risen steadily since November 11th after falling somewhat in the days leading up to the election. Year to date that index has risen from $31 to $107, a more than 300% increase. Market caps are starting to ascend into the rarified air of $B’s rather than $M’s and trading volume is pretty strong. This is a highly speculative corner of the market with a tentative relationship, at best, between valuations and documented performance and revenues, so it is fair to say that confidence is driving these numbers and confidence has, literally, never been greater.

Another interesting paradox is the simple fact of a Trump presidency emerging from the same election that advanced cannabis legalization in eight out of nine states where it was on the ballet this November. In both market size, and cultural meaning, California’s “Yes” on recreational sales is a landmark event the importance of which cannot be overstated. Without changing anything in particular, it changes everything. It sends a simple and clear message to investors that this is big and it is here to stay. It blows open a huge and demonstrably eager market for these product and promises millions of dollars to the political system through taxes, lobbying and political donations in support of every imaginable protection and favor.

The November landslide does feel at odds with a Republican victory, but what just happened was not a Republican victory. It was a Trump victory and cannabis isn’t a Trump issue. Nor does it seem to retain its status as a partisan issue in general. The Floridians who happily welcomed Trump as their new President Elect, also cheered in the passage of medical cannabis. A pattern that is evident up and down tickets and across the country. In my own State of Oregon, the conservative Lake Oswego District both blocked the establishment of any recreational cannabis enterprises, while re-electing Ann Lininger as State Representative. Ann is Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of Measure 91. She is a highly visible and outspoken cannabis advocate who has won the reciprocal support of the cannabis community and been successful at leveraging it to the benefit of her own campaign and those of her Democratic colleagues. Her outspoken position on cannabis, did not seem to trouble her own, more right leaning constituents despite a fairly strong anti-cannabis stance as expressed through their district wide ban. It seems like a certain live-and-let-live attitude is prevailing in the publics approach to this topic and that has increasingly been reflected in national leadership and the legislature. To quote Trump during his campaign. “It’s a states rights issue. Leave it to the states.” Seems like we are all on the same page.