(TMU) — Cannabis industry shares are soaring after a key U.S. congressional committee overwhelmingly approved a bill that would comprehensively end the federal prohibition of cannabis, clearing the way for a full floor vote in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee passed HR 3884—the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act by a 24-10 vote.
As a result, Reuters reports that marijuana companies including Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, Aphria Inc., and Tilray Inc. have climbed in value by anywhere between 8% and 15%.
Garrett Nelson, a senior equity analyst at CFRA Research, told the news agency:
“We think federal legalization would be a big positive for investor sentiment surrounding cannabis equities, which have been battered by oversupply and a steep price decline for the underlying commodity since becoming legal in Canada.”
The MORE Act was introduced by Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and enjoys over 50 co-sponsors. If approved, the landmark bill, would see the removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, ending prohibition on a national level and enable states to move forward with their own policies regulating the commerce and consumption of the plant.
The removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I narcotic would mean that the plant would no longer be defined by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a drug “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” in league with LSD and heroin.
States would also be incentivized to expunge the criminal records of low-level cannabis offenders, removing a barrier that bars access to voting, employment, professional licenses, housing, and even the ability to adopt a child. Federal marijuana conviction and arrest records would also be expunged.
The bill will also authorize a 5 percent federal sales tax on cannabis products manufactured in the U.S. or imported.
Despite the continued prohibition of marijuana on a federal level, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it for medical purposes while 11 states have legalized cannabis for recreational use.
The subject of decriminalization and legalization on a federal level also remains a hot topic in U.S. politics, including as a subject of heated debate during the fifth Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday.
Analysts are wary about the future of the bill, as are some sponsors of the bill. Alan Brochstein, a managing partner at New Cannabis Ventures, told Reuters:
“It’s such an early step in a long process that there are no near-term implications for cannabis stocks. The Senate isn’t likely to approve it, even if the House were to do so.”
Jason Wilson, an analyst at cannabis stock-tracker ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF, told Market Watch:
“The vote was mostly symbolic and is just the first step toward full legalization.
But legalization will come eventually and there’s still a lot of money on sidelines looking to get into the space.”
Shares in the cannabis industry have faced tough times this year as retail stores roll out slowly in Canada while supplies remain overly high in relation to demand. Uncertainty related to U.S. regulations and the continued thriving of the cannabis black market has also dealt a blow to the legal cannabis market, making investors queasy about involvement in the sector.
However, cannabis investors are hopeful that good times are ahead as the MORE Act continues to move forward in the U.S. legislature, albeit toward an unpredictable future.
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Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.