The shares of major cannabis producers experienced an increase on October 8 after Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris said that the Biden administration would decriminalize marijuana at a federal level in the United States.

Decriminalization of pot

On October 7, Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris faced-off at the debate stage.

Harris stated that she and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would ease the law against cannabis, and they would expunge the criminal records of those who are convicted of offenses related to marijuana, according to MSN.

Right after the debate, cannabis stock tracker MJ ETF saw an increase of 5.5%, marking this as their best session since June 2020. Tilray Inc. increased to 9.2% on the Nasdaq.

Meanwhile, US-listed shares of Aphria Inc., Canopy Growth Corp., and Aurora Cannabis Inc. closed between 10% and 13% higher, according to The Star.

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Many states in the country have legalized the buying and selling of marijuana. However, banks and other financial institutions refused to work with the industry because cannabis is still a classified substance according to federal law.

Keith Cich, the co-founder of Sunderstorm Inc., a company that manufactures cannabis-related products, said that access to safe banking would help transform the cannabis industry. The move can also help free up capital markets for investment, reducing the risk of operating a cannabis business.

Sam Armenia, the vice president at producer C21 Investments Inc., said that decriminalization would help level the playing field from a business perspective as it will allow companies to expense normal operational costs instead of being taxed on their gross profit.

Harris is the lead sponsor of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement or MORE Act of 2019, which sought to end the federal prohibition of marijuana. Harris had supported cannabis decriminalization even before she was paired up with Biden, according to Forbes.

The candidate's campaign trail

Vice President Mike Pence has been going around alone as President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 and is still being treated for the virus.

Both parties are busy making their rounds as there are less than four weeks left until the November election. So far, Biden has led President Trump consistently in national polls. Still, polls show a tight race in many states that will ultimately decide the election, including Arizona, which Biden, Harris, and Pence visited on October 8.

Harris and Biden joined Native American leaders at an event, and they went on a bus tour to meet with small-business owners and voters in Tempe and Phoenix.

Pence also went to Arizona for a campaign event in Peoria, and he also visited Boulder City, Nevada. Both Nevada and Arizona are considered as critical swing states in the November 3 presidential election.

In 2016, Trump scored 3.5% more in Arizona against his then-opponent Democrat Hillary Clinton. This year, the state could flip his bid to gather 270 electoral votes, as that is what he needs to win the White House for another four years.

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