Here’s why ASX cannabis shares are lighting up today

ASX cannabis shares are rising today after New York state in the US legalised recreational marijuana use. Let’s take a look.

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The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: JXO) is having a pretty decent day today. A the time of writing, the ASX 200 is up a healthy pre-Easter 0.21%. But one group that is doing a quarter-ounce better are ASX cannabis shares.

Take Creso Pharma Ltd (ASX: CPH). It’s up 1% to 20 cents a share. Or Cann Group Ltd (ASX: CAN), up 0.54% to 54 cents a share. Elixinol Global Ltd (ASX: EXL)? It’s up 5.56% to 19 cents a share. Althea Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: AGH) is up 1% at 50 cents.

What gives?

Well, there’s a piece of news out today that might be getting investors keen to light up on cannabis shares.

According to the Governor of the US state of New York’s office, Governor Andrew Cuomo has just signed a bill into law that has legalised recreational use of cannabis in the state of New York.

As we flagged a few days ago, New York now joins 14 other US states that have already legalised recreational use. The new New York law will allow the state to issue licenses for dispensary businesses to sell marijuana to adults aged 21 and over legally.

Further, outside-of-home possession of marijuana is now legal to a limit of 3 ounces. It will also allow adults aged over 21 to grow 3 mature and 3 immature plants each (with a limit of 6 mature and 6 immature plants per household).

The governor expects that the new law will raise approximately US$350 million in new taxes annually, as well as create between 30,000 and 60,000 new jobs across the state.

How will this affect ASX cannabis shares?

Well, this is something of a hollow victory for the ASX cannabis sector. What happens in the United States, of course, has no direct implications for Australia’s cannabis industry. Recreational cannabis remains illegal in every Australian state and territory, although laws differ when it comes to decriminalisation. Medicinal use is more prevalent, but again, it’s still early stages.

Even so, proponents of wider cannabis legality would no doubt still be heartened. Over in the US, we have seen a ‘domino effect’ with legalised cannabis. 15 states now allow recreational marijuana, but it was only back in 2012 that the first two US states (Colorado and Washington) legalised recreational use. A further 36 US states allow medicinal use as of today.

Arguably the more states and countries follow in New York’s path, the better the prospects here for ASX cannabis shares.

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Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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