By Michael A. Robinson, Defense + Tech Specialist, Money Morning
@Robinson_STI • January 26, 2017

Just a few weeks ago, I released my marijuana investing forecast for the year ahead. If you haven’t read it, I won’t spoil it for you, but it was extremely bullish. And that says quite a lot when you think about the flood tide of legal victories and the nice returns cannabis investing has already brought in the past year.

Now, as I mentioned, some investors and sector-watchers are nervous given attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions’ stated views on marijuana. They’re not exactly progressive.

What’s more, we’re seeing legislative “pushback” in some state assemblies where voters just OK’d recreational marijuana use.

But I’m going to fill you in on what’s really happening here, and then you’ll see why my outlook is even stronger than it was earlier this month…

No One Expected the Marijuana Battle to Be Easy

Look, there’s almost 100 years of ferocious downward social and legal pressure keeping pot illegal and the cannabis industry depressed. For generations, people have been told by successive Democratic and Republican administrations that it’s simply a dangerous substance for bad people.

There are stiff headwinds, but the truth is, for almost as long, there’s been a strong tradition of activism that’s been advocating for cannabis.

And it’s beginning to win.

American society’s views on marijuana – who should use it, how it should be used, and how it ought to be regulated – are changing with blinding speed. More than 60% of U.S. adults now favor legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana, be it for recreational use, medicinal purposes, or both.

Just look at the powerful dynamic that’s been playing out in the two months or so since the election…

Voters said “yes” to medical and/or recreational marijuana in eight out of nine states on Nov. 8, but some state legislators are dragging their feet on turning those referendums into laws.

Legislators in Maine, Massachusetts, and Arkansas have already passed initiatives to delay pot sales in their states.

For example, in Maine, there is a bill now pending that would push back the deadline to lift its prohibition on recreational marijuana from Jan. 30 of this year to February 2018. The bill, L.D. 88, also would clarify that recreational marijuana will remain illegal for Down-Easters under age 21 and would prohibit the sale of edible marijuana products for recreational purposes until February 2018.

Of course, legal marijuana proponents are pushing back – hard…

Becky DeKeuster – a founder of the largest medical marijuana dispensary company in Maine, Wellness Connection – said the “well-intentioned” bill overturns the will of voters. Moreover, she said the bill would support the black market for marijuana – and would act as a “jobs, revenue, and investment killer.”

“Here we have an industry that is ready to create hundreds of small- to medium-sized businesses and thousands of new jobs, an industry that will benefit ancillary businesses, generate revenue and an industry… with deep roots in Maine… that plays to our agricultural and our entrepreneurial strengths,” DeKeuster said.

On the national scene, we’ll likely see pushback from incoming U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other forces working against legal cannabis.

But here’s the important thing to remember when it starts to look like the odds are stacking up against marijuana legalization…

This Global Trend Is Most Definitely Our Friend

As it stands, voters in 28 states – including hugely populated ones like California, Florida, Illinois, and New York – have legalized medical marijuana.

In eight of those states, voters also have approved cannabis for recreational use. That alone puts around 191 million potential customers in the market for one of the fastest-growing industries in the country.

So while state legislators and others might try to delay this bandwagon, they’re only putting off the inevitable. Broad, bipartisan consensus on legalization in Congress and the overwhelming sense that legal marijuana is an issue for state legislatures mean there’s simply no way they’ll be able to pull the break completely.

And I’ve written about the four states that I think are most likely to be next to vote for legalization and bring the number of states up to 32.

In fact, momentum is accelerating worldwide. Not only in neighboring countries like Mexico and Canada, but in places like Germany, too.

The world’s fifth-largest economy is emerging as a medical marijuana powerhouse.

Last week, the German Bundestag unanimously passed an act to legalize medical marijuana for people suffering from serious illnesses, such as chronic pain and multiple sclerosis. This comes after the nation’s cabinet approved the act in May 2016.

According to the act, patients will be granted the right to be treated with marijuana “in very limited exceptional cases” but they will not be allowed to grow their own.

The German health minister, Hermann Gröhe, said: “Those who are severely ill need to get the best possible treatment and that includes health insurance funds paying for cannabis as a medicine for those who are chronically ill if they can’t be effectively treated any other way.”

When the act is implemented in March, patients will be able to get a prescription from their doctor and a refund for the upfront cost from their health insurance.

And Germany isn’t alone.

Italy and the Czech Republic also recently started granting medical marijuana access for patients. And marijuana has been either decriminalized or legalized for some time in Mexico, Australia, and much of South America and Europe.

It’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down, neither here in the United States nor across the globe.

I’ve covered tech investing – venture capital, innovation, M&A, you name it – and this is one of the most powerful trends I’ve ever seen.

Just look at the peak gains we’ve enjoyed playing the 30 stocks in my “weed investors’ bible,” The Roadmap to Marijuana Millions. Fully 25 of 30 open positions are turning a profit, and 12 of those have been up by triple digits – and I’m talking gains as high as 500%, 516%, and even 523%.

Cannabis investing is that powerful.

And that’s why I continue to have high expectations for the legal cannabis industry in 2017 – and beyond.