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Pot stocks soar on renewed hopes of legalization

Cannabis industry stocks soared on Tuesday as industry leaders made groovy predictions about their financial prospects and marijuana legalization in Washington.

Shares in Canadian grower Tilray finished up more than 40 percent on Tuesday after Chief executive Brendan Kennedy mused to Bloomberg Television that he now expects more state and possibly a federal legalization within “the next 12 to 18 months.”

Kennedy made the comments while speaking about the company’s partnership with London-based Grow Pharma to distribute its medical cannabis products in the UK, which was also well received by investors.

Canopy Growth saw its share price pop almost 12 percent after CEO David Klein also made optimistic comments about marijuana legalization under Biden, which he said could allow the Canadian company to enter the US cannabis market this year.

“We anticipate that this legislation will include comprehensive reform to ensure restorative justice, protect public health and implement responsible taxation while ending cannabis prohibition,” Klein stated on Tuesday’s earnings call.

Canopy also expects to be profitable by 2022, Klein said.

Even embattled California-based weed retailer MedMen got in on the action after announcing late Monday that it has retained investment bank Moelis & Co. to help the company explore “strategic alternatives.” 

MedMen stock climbed almost 53 percent on Tuesday, hitting 97 cents a share.

“It’s still in deep trouble,” said one trader who deals in cannabis stocks. “But the fact that there’s a market for those says a lot about the perceived [legalization] timeframe here.”

Inside the Beltway, political experts warned that cannabis executives might be getting ahead of themselves despite recent statements from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and others to push forward sweeping pot legislation this year.

“There aren’t 60 votes in the Senate. Full stop,” one policy expert told The Post. “And [the Democrats] appear committed to this comprehensive path so the piecemeal bills, like banking, don’t get any air.”

The statement was in reference to bills supporting a route for cannabis companies to access bank accounts, which have been in the works for years with even legalization opponents supporting a plan to put bring the multi-billion dollar industry into mainstream finance.

“They’re better off betting on state-by-state for now,” added another Beltway insider. “If they are planning around a federal plan this year, they are going to be sorely disappointed.”

Still, pot analysts say the new political environment is inherently better for the industry than it was even weeks ago.

“We’re in for a less turbulent ride to the finish, regardless,” said Greenwaves Advisors founder Matt Karnes. “Under Trump, there was a passive-aggressive stance towards the industry and it turned out that many inside never supported legalization.  Under Biden, this concern is alleviated.”

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