Cannabis stocks rose Tuesday, buoyed by gains in the broader market and hopes for a bill that would block the Justice Department from interfering in states that have legalized weed for medical or recreational use.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.44% rallied almost 400 points, or 1.5%, while the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.06% was up 33 points, or 1.3%, after President Donald Trump tweeted that had a productive conversation with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. The news bolstered hopes for a resolution of the current trade conflict between the two nations.
Separately, ECB President Mario Draghi hinted at further eurozone stimulus in comments that fueled hopes the Federal Reserve will signal its willingness to cut interest rates this year at a meeting due to start later Tuesday.
Against that background, the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ, +0.32% rose 1%, with 24 of its 38 constituents gaining. The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF HMMJ, +0.65% gained 1.1%, with 31 of its 55 constituent stocks posting gains.
The U.S. House Rules Committee will review an amendment later Tuesday to the fiscal 2020 Commerce-Justice Science spending bill that would prohibit the Justice Department from using any funds to interfere with cannabis programs in states that have legalized, as website Marijuana Business Daily reported. The bill would only offer protection for a year and would not carry the broader powers contained in the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, which industry officials have been pushing.
The continuing U.S. federal ban on cannabis has complicated the effort to grow the sector, with banking a particular challenge. Banks that are federally insured cannot serve the industry without risk of an enforcement action, forcing companies to operate on a risky, cash-only basis.
Cowen Inc. COWN, +0.06% said early Tuesday it is adding two bankers to its New York cannabis team. Dan Schnurman, who was most recently at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he worked on strategic deals in the life sciences sector, will focus on advising medical cannabis clients and others interested in investing in the global sector. Townsend Zeibold, who was most recently at Cascadia Capital LLC, where he served as managing director for beverages and cannabis, will focus on M&A in the cannabis and beverages sectors. Cowen was one of the first U.S. banks to explore opportunities in the cannabis sector.
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Among individual stocks, Valens GrowWorks Corp. shares VGWCF, +8.86% rose 11% after the company said plans to list on the TSX Venture Exchange are progressing and that it has expedited its second-quarter earnings release. Kelowna, British Columbia-based Valens said it expects to meet all conditions for the listing in the coming weeks and that it has moved forward its quarterly earnings to July 15. The company is expecting to trade under the ticker symbol “VGW.” Valens is focused on secondary extraction methodology, distillation and cannabinoid isolation and purification. The stock was up 11%.
Market leader Canopy Growth Corp. shares CGC, +0.42% WEED, +0.59% rose 0.7%, ahead of a shareholder vote on Wednesday on its plan to acquire Acreage Holdings Inc. once cannabis has been legalized in the U.S. Canopy is scheduled to report its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings Thursday after the market close.
Organigram Holdings Inc. shares OGI, +4.02% rose 5%, after the company said it would be the exclusive supplier of Feather Company Ltd. vaporizer hardware and technology in Canada. The move comes ahead of the legalization of cannabis derivatives in Canada, expected in October.
Elsewhere in the sector, Tilray Inc. TLRY, +1.19% shares were up 2.2%, Cronos Group Inc. CRON, -1.64% CRON, -1.64% ere down 0.3%, Aphria shares APHA, -0.73% APHA, -0.22% were down 0.4%, and Aleafia Health Inc. ALEF, -1.56% ALEAF, -0.16% was down 0.3%.
Green Growth Brands Inc. GGBXF, -2.42% were down 2.4%. Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Inc. TGOD, +3.77% TGOD, +3.77% was up 3.3%. Hexo Corp. HEXO, +0.18% fell 0.1%, continuing a losing streak that started after disappointing earnings last week.