Republicans Can Win on Cannabis
The Importance of Nancy Mace’s Primary Win
Tuesday night was an important night for cannabis investors. Republican Nancy Mace won her South Carolina primary battle despite repeated attacks not only from conservatives within her own party but from former President Donald Trump. In particular, she was mocked for her support on cannabis and for making it such a priority as a Congresswoman.
I interviewed Nancy Mace in March and came away very impressed by her determination and I warned people not to underestimate her.
She was adamant that Republicans actually support cannabis, especially the ability for each state to decide what is legal. Here is what she told me in that interview:
Her own internal polling of conservatives in South Carolina shows that only a single digit percentage of Republicans in her home state oppose cannabis. She feels so strongly about the polling numbers that she is telling all her Congressional colleagues that they too should poll their constituents and they will be really surprised by what they find.
Why is Nancy Mace’s victory such big news for cannabis investors? Well, there is a view among cannabis investors that there is a narrow window before the Republicans take over either the House and/or the Senate for any kind of reform and if the Democrats don’t do anything it may be years before anything changes.
I believe this view is outdated and wrong. I believe that Republicans are starting to change their tune. In my interview Nancy Mace told me that:
Several of her Republican colleagues have told her that once their primaries are over, they will co-sponsor her bill (The States Rights Act).
And we are starting to see other Republicans suddenly become more vocal about cannabis, including ones that used to be against it. Republican Senator Steve Daines, who was against cannabis legalization in his own state, recently ran an advertisement in favor of SAFE Banking, a law that would protect financial institutions from Federal prosecution and fines if they work with state legal businesses.
Then there is the news that not only is North Carolina moving to approve medicinal cannabis, but so is Alabama. Let me tell you that there are not many states in America that are more conservative than Alabama.
Then consider comedian Bill Maher openly wondering on his TV show if “Republicans were going to steal cannabis as an issue.”
Cannabis is a perfect issue for Republicans, especially SAFE Banking. They can frame cannabis legalization as a states rights issue and pull the authority from the Federal government and if they can wrap the issue in terms of crime and safety, they neuter the Democrats and any effort to make it a complicated issue with loads of regulations and taxes.
And that is why it is no surprise that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is suddenly changing his tune on the scope of cannabis reform. A news report came out this morning about a compromise bill on SAFE Banking.
“We’re trying to add some of the social justice provisions and see if we can come up with a compromise,” Schumer said.
My guess is that Schumer is realizing that the issue is slipping out of the Democrats’ hands. While Schumer and other Democrats have held up any kind of reform in Congress and have not allowed any vote to proceed, the pressure is probably building to enact something before the Republicans take control and do it on their own.
And one more thing to consider is that Nancy Mace’s battle to legalize cannabis will really start to get going if the Republicans take over the House. She told me in her interview that she is in line to get a conference chair position and will use that to advance cannabis. As I said in March, don’t underestimate Nancy Mace and now I would add: don’t underestimate how her win may embolden other Republicans to come out in favor of cannabis reform.