Continuing a clear shift towards cultural acceptance of cannabis-related companies, one of the biggest film, music, and media festivals in the United States is about to host upper management from Acreage Holdings, Inc. (CSE: ACRG.U; OTCQX: ACRGF; FSE: 0VZ).
Chief Executive Officer Kevin Murphy will appear at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas this coming March 15 to speak at a panel moderated by CNBC market strategist Tim Seymour. Former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner – who is on the Acreage board of directors – will also speak at the panel.
The SXSW appearance marks a turning point in cannabis visibility for Acreage after CBS turned down the company’s request to air a 30 second ad during Super Bowl LIII last month.
The ad spot would have shown cannabis being used to help patients who suffer from epileptic seizures and chronic pain conditions. A longer 60 second version of the ad was later released online and can be seen below.
Acreage’s appearance at a world famous conglomeration of conferences and performances like SXSW is just the latest in a string of efforts towards greater acceptance of cannabis.
The SXSW panel is particularly of note as cannabis usage – either medical or recreational – remains illegal under state law in Texas. Ten out of 50 U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana at this point, with all cannabis remaining illegal at the federal level.
As a movement towards full nationwide legalization gains steam, MedMen Enterprises Inc. (CSE: MMEN; OTCQX: MMNFF) and director Spike Jonze teamed up last month to declare cannabis the “new normal” with a viral ad narrated by actor Jesse Williams.
The issue is expected to dominate the 2020 U.S. Presidential field, with Democratic candidates seeking their party’s nomination showing early support for wide-scale cannabis legalization.
So far Presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Amy Klobuchar have all voiced some level of support for decriminalizing or full legalization.
On the Republican side, last week President Trump’s administration issued a call for public comment on the potential for rescheduling marijuana. If it were pulled off the current Schedule I drug designation, companies would have more leeway on medical research and it could show a willingness on the federal government’s part to re-think prohibition.