Marijuana needs to be legalized...

At least that's what the editorial board at the New York Times thinks. On July 27, the newspaper published an op-ed titled "Repeal Prohibition, Again." In the piece, the board provided a laundry list of reasons the United States government should make pot legal at the Federal level.

Said The Gray Lady:

"The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times' Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

There are no perfect answers to people's legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level -- health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues -- the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization. That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs -- at the state level."

We've been following the marijuana story at StreetAuthority for over six months now. We first mentioned it in our February 28 issue of StreetAuthority Insider, when we said that due to marijuana's conflicting legal status, Colorado -- where the recreational use of marijuana was legalized earlier this year -- is serving as "one giant experiment for the full scale legalization of pot in the U.S."

As we told you then...

"[Marijuana] dispensaries -- or "compassion clubs," as they're sometimes called -- have created a very interesting phenomenon...

That's because according to federal law, the possession and distribution of marijuana is still considered a crime. That means if the government wanted to, it could raid each and every one of these businesses, seize their assets, and haul the owners off to jail.

But they don't -- because, despite what many people think, U.S. officials aren't that stupid.

They've seen what happens when the government tries to force unwanted regulation down people's throats (think 1933 and the repeal of the Volstead Act, which ended Prohibition). That's why the feds have basically said they won't prosecute anyone who buys or sells marijuana in a state that has legally allowed it.

But make no mistake... this dichotomy won't last long. You can't have two legal codes -- both of which are supposed to operate in unison -- in direct conflict with each other. Something is going to have to give.

As a result, right now Colorado is serving as one giant experiment for the full-scale legalization of marijuana in the U.S."

After seven months, the results are in. Between January 1st and July 15th, it's estimated that commercial cannabis sales generated $13 million in additional tax revenue for the Rocky Mountain State. Meanwhile, overall crime in Denver is down about 10% since the beginning of the year.

At the same time, public opinion toward marijuana continues to grow increasingly in favor of full-scale legalization. A recent YouGov poll shows that an overwhelming 61% of Americans are now on board. Voters in Washington State have gone so far as to allow for recreational marijuana sales, which started July 15, 2014.

America's changing attitude towards cannabis hasn't escaped Congress. Three weeks ago, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives struck down an amendment proposed by U.S. Rep. John Flemming (R) that would derail President Obama's initiative to loosen the banking restrictions on marijuana dispensaries. If Obama's plan is allowed to unfold, dispensaries working within their state's legal boundaries would no longer be barred from depositing money with FDIC insured financial institutions.

Marijuana companies aren't the only "sin stocks" garnering headlines lately either...

In June, Big Tobacco giant Philip Morris International (Nasdaq:PM) announced it would be buying British based e-vapor company, Nicocigs, to establish its presence in the U.K. electronic cigarette market. This recent acquisition joins a host of activity in the sector, including Altria's (NYSE:MO) purchase of Green Smokes Inc. in February and Lorillard's (NYSE:LO) takeover of premium e-cig producer, Blu, in 2012.

If you read these issues regularly then you know StreetAuthority's resident growth stock expert, Andy Obermueller, has been bullish on e-cigs since he originally recommended electronic cigarette manufacturer Vapor Corp. (Nasdaq:VPCO) to his Game-Changing Stocks subscribers in December, 2013.

Here's what Andy had to say about e-cigs in his most recent research report...

"The market for electronic cigarettes is growing. According to Bloomberg, sales from the e-cig industry were $1.7 billion in 2013, up from $20 million in 2008."

"But that growth isn't about to slow down. In fact, Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog told CNBC that she sees sales reaching $10 billion in 2017. She even goes so far as to say they will overtake conventional cigarettes within a decade.

I think she's right. I think e-cigarettes are a true game-changer, and I believe the opportunity is probably even larger than Herzog thinks."

Action To Take --> While Andy thinks there's a lot of opportunity betting on Big Tobacco's involvement with e-cigs, he thinks the real money will be made in small-caps like Vapor Corp.

That logic also extends to the future of marijuana in the U.S. In fact, Andy predicts marijuana will be on the path to legalization in all 50 states by the end of 2015. From the looks of things, he might just be onto something. ArcView Market Research estimated that legal cannabis hit $1.43 billion in sales in 2013 and will grow 64% to $2.34 billion in 2014. -- that's a rate of growth faster than even smartphones achieved.

The popularity of marijuana has never been higher... and Andy's prediction could very well prove to be correct. Now he's found a little-known pharmaceutical company that could see a major boom as marijuana's popularity continues to rise in the U.S. The company produces the first cannabis plant derivative to gain government approval in any country. And once its groundbreaking drug passes Phase III trials and hits the shelves, Andy is predicting massive gains. To learn more about this company -- along with 10 more of Andy's predictions for 2015 -- click here.

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