Article Written by Richard Cowan, former NORML National Director and author of the syndicated hemp and marijuana blog, Marijuana Weekly News.com.
After Biden clinched the Democratic nomination, his campaign focused on getting Sanders support, so they launched what they called a “Unity Task Force”, and one of the major topics was marijuana prohibition. Given Joe Biden’s long support for the Drug War, even coining the term “Drug Czar”, the real world results were not too terrible.
The key points:
- “Democrats will decriminalize marijuana use and reschedule it through executive action on the federal level.” That will automatically clear the way for banks to do business with cannabis companies. Now they are forced to do business with cash only.
- “We will support legalization of medical marijuana (federally), and believe states should be able to make their own decisions about recreational use.” It should be noted that even if the Federal government legalized marijuana, state laws will still apply.
- “The Justice Department should not launch federal prosecutions of conduct that is legal at the state level.” This provision is seen as a slap at Attorney General Barr, who has been accused of an abuse of his power by ordering an investigation of legal marijuana companies without probable cause.
- “Lift budget rider blocking DC from taxing and regulating legal marijuana.” The Nation’s capital is effectively controlled by the Congress. So the Feds would be legalizing marijuana in the Federal Capital, but not Federally.
- “All past criminal convictions for cannabis use should be automatically expunged.”
- “Remove marijuana use from the list of deportable offenses.” Appallingly, from 2003 to August 2018, more than 45,000 people were deported nationwide for possession of marijuana. Under federal law, any marijuana-related criminal conviction, except for a single conviction for possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana, can make even a legal resident deportable.
In short, as long as we don’t call it “Legalization”, Biden is in favor of it.
Over 90% of Americans support medical marijuana and roughly two thirds are in favor of legalization. Biden’s position may allow him to have it both ways, but it is immeasurably better than Trump’s.