Finally. Around the country, US cannabis companies breathed a sigh of relief last week. Regardless of their political leanings on other issues, the results of the Georgia Senate run-offs contests are exciting for an industry that has been hamstrung since its inception.
While nothing can put a positive spin on the ugly events in the capitol last week, the results from Georgia were a sign of life for the cannabis industry. Two Democrat candidates, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossof, won their respective run-off races. The two seats, long-held by Republicans, split the Senate down the middle at 50 and 50, though incoming Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, will have the ultimate vote on legislation for the next four years.
That’s a strong sign that cannabis and marijuana reform bills will find receptive ears and support in the upper chamber in the years to come. Within days of the results, cannabis stocks soared, and the jump in prices isn’t expected to end any time soon. Some experts predict cannabis stocks could see a 50% rise in 2021, a much-needed injection of funds just as cannabis production sees a high probability of more demand as states legalize or loosen marijuana laws.
New funds aren’t limited to private investment, either. The de facto Democrat control of both Congressional chambers also means a change that legislation like the SAFE Banking Act might finally get off the Majority leader’s desk and onto the Senate floor. While there’s still some speculation as to who will lead the new Democrat majority, it may not matter. Democrats passed the bill with some bipartisan support in the House, and any potential new Majority leader is expected to work quickly to get the backlog of bills at least onto the agenda in the first 100 days of the Biden administration.
One of the most important pieces of legislation involves allowing direct production companies, those who are actually growing, to be listed in the stock markets. As long as marijuana is listed as a controlled substance, it won’t be allowed, but there’s every indication that could change in the years ahead, if not sooner.
That’s an important step for climate change and allowing cannabis production to both loans and private investment to do more to reduce their outsized energy needs. Cannabis production is currently a major strain on local utilities, especially indoor facilities that rely on expensive lighting and HVAC systems for humidity, irrigation, and lighting twenty-four hours a day. Even in more temperate climates like California, the very climate that makes cultivation conducive is changing, with heatwaves and forest fires putting additional strain on the grid and leading to sweeping blackouts. The demands of cannabis production contribute to the problem, and with cannabis production only increasing each year, these companies need access to funds to invest in smarter, more sustainable technology.
Investment and climate change are symbiotic; where we choose to invest, we choose to improve. That goes beyond funding for renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal themselves. It includes supporting other technologies that make them more effective, like energy storage, and by targeting energy-intensive industries where sustainable efforts can do the most good.
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