The day after vice president hopeful Kamala Harris took the stage to debate current vice president Mike Pence, shares of cannabis stocks were surging.

Why? The Democrat Senator had vowed during the debate to expunge the criminal records of people convicted of marijuana-related offenses in the past.

Harris is the lead sponsor of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019, which sought to end federal prohibition of marijuana.

Because marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, businesses in the industry have had a hard time working with banks despite many U.S. states legalizing the plant’s use.

“Access to safe banking will transform the industry, freeing up capital markets for investment and reducing the risk of operating a cannabis business,” said Keith Cich per a Reuters article. He is the co-founder of cannabis-related products manufacturer Sunderstorm Inc.

“From a business perspective, (decriminalization) will level the playing field by allowing companies to expense normal operational costs instead of being taxed on gross profit,” also added Sam Armenia, the vice president at producer C21 Investments Inc CXXI.CD.

The next day after Wednesday’s debate, the MJ ETF MJ.P rose 5.5% to mark its best session since early June, while Tilray Inc TLRY.O jumped 19.2% on the Nasdaq.
U.S.-listed shares of Canopy Growth Corp WEED.TO, Aphria Inc APHA.TO and Aurora Cannabis Inc ACB.TO all closed between 10% and 13% higher.

Currently, 33 U.S. states have legalized medical cannabis while recreational cannabis is legal in 11. In November five states will have a form of cannabis legalization on the ballot, including New Jersey, Arizona, and Montana.

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