Nasdaq and The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) (herein the “Exchanges”) have not listed cannabis cultivators, processors, and dispensaries (herein “operators”) that grow, process, and/or sell marijuana,i.e., “touch the flower,” pursuant to permits issued under state law because the Exchanges have decided against listing companies whose operations may be deemed to violate U.S. federal law. However, they are listing companies whose businesses are dependent on revenues from cannabis sales or who are facilitating trading in operators, such as cannabis ETFs, REITS, and online stores like Weedmaps and Leafly, where the very same products operators sell can be purchased. Having already crossed the rubicon without reprisal from the federal government, which has been explicit about its hands-off policy toward state-legal cannabis activities since 2012, it is time for the Exchanges to start listing operators.
ATACH and Duane Morris have demonstrated that the Exchanges’ policy of not listing operators is: out-of-step with federal cannabis policy; inconsistent with the Exchanges’ own “purpose initiatives;” restraining cannabis industry growth that would boost the U.S. economy; and undermined by their current listings of companies with material cannabis assets. The time has come for operators to be listed on Nasdaq and NYSE.