Nasdaq’s Alternative Harvest Marijuana ETF, a fund that bundles tradable assets for the cannabis industry, was up 5.6 percent in the hour after the Sessions announcement, with a peak share price of $36.97—a nearly $2 gain for the fund. On the day, the fund was up more than 7 percent at the close of trading.
Individual cannabis-company stocks are also seeing the effects of Sessions’s departure. According to CNBC, the Canadian company Tilray got a boost of 30 percent in the day’s trading, along with jumps of more than 8 percent for both Canopy Growth and Aurora Cannabis. All of these companies continued to see gains in the immediate extended-hours trading.
Under Sessions, not only had efforts to legalize marijuana at the federal level for even medical use been stymied, but the Department of Justice reversed Obama-era enforcement guidelines. Those rules instructed federal law enforcement not to interfere with states allowing marijuana sales, which have always been in violation of federal law. The differences in state- and federal-level marijuana legality have proved a growth issue for the cannabis industry—for example, they can create legal and logistical problems for business owners when it comes to things like corporate banking.