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Marijuana legalization on ballot in five states’ midterm elections

Yahoo Finance Live anchor Dave Briggs details the five states allowing voters to decide whether or not to legalize marijuana in the midterm elections.

Video transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: I want to throw out one underrated race. It's in Utah. Evan McMullin, the independent, he wins there, he and Joe Manchin control the entire US Senate. But we're going to move on now and talk about more than the balance of power. One key ballot issue we're watching, the legalization of cannabis.

In just a few hours, it could be legal in essentially half of the United States. Voters in Maryland, Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Missouri also voting today on marijuana legalization, which could take the total to 24 states. That's from the current 19, plus Washington, DC. Now, regionally, you've got to check out the Deep South because if Arkansas does win, that's the first Deep South State to legalize. And polls indicate passage there.

But Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson did speak out against cannabis, recently saying we have to make sure we don't move to decriminalization of drugs that are harming Americans. Now, Maryland, on the other hand, would join its neighbors, Virginia and DC, in legalizing recreational use and really form a stronghold in the Northeast. Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania fall in the next couple of years. And polls in Maryland suggest overwhelming passage.

Now, the most recent national poll, we should note, from Politico and Morning Consult shows 60% of Americans are now in favor of legalization. How about the impact on stocks? Well, they're relatively mixed at this point. No real movement should you expect until we get final note on those five states. It will be moderate if, in fact, it passes in all five of them.

Also today, we're voting on legalizing psychedelic mushrooms for medical use in the state of Colorado. Now back to the stock story, Rachelle, I think what the stocks need and might get is a lame duck deal on Safe Banking Plus, which is what they need to take advantage of traditional banking services. We might be talking about a 20% upside in these big stocks if we get that in the lame duck session.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And we know that that's what they've been waiting for. We've seen, obviously, we've seen cannabis stocks really fluctuating, but really sort of hovering in the range really awaiting some real moves from Congress on this. It's interesting that this could be the time that does it during this lame duck session.

But with banking, with decriminalization, a lot of times, these have sort of been placed together. Some people were like, well, the Safe Banking more likely to get passed first. So definitely a lot of momentum here. We'll have to see if lawmakers end up following through on this, Seana.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, certainly a massive issue here. We want to keep a close eye on those stocks. But going back, Dave, to what you were saying before, the closest that we're seeing in some of those states in terms of whether or not these efforts are going to be passed. I mean, it's right above the margin line in some states. Arkansas, 50.5% support legalization. I don't think any of us know what the outcome is going to be tonight. So it certainly will be interesting to closely watch these stocks and then also see how Congress responds to these results that we are likely going to get over the next 24 hours or so.

DAVE BRIGGS: Yeah, really one name to watch is Steve Daines. He's a Republican senator. He could sway his colleagues either way in that lame duck session. We'll keep an eye on it for you.