A #secondterm under the #Trump #administration is hard to understand when considering its stance on #marijuana. The past four years have given good reason to assume that a federal #crackdown is unlikely, but at the same time, the #president hasn’t signaled at any point that he’d be proactive at pursuing reform. From an administrative standpoint, it seems possible that the status quo would be maintained.
Trump told #MSNBC in 2015 that “I don’t really think” people should go to jail for marijuana. However, he added that “I think that maybe the dealers have to be looked at very strongly.”
During a #FoxNews interview, he drew a contrast between recreational and medical marijuana consumption, claiming the former is “a big problem” that has “tremendously damaging effects to the mind, to the brain, to everything,” he said. But he also said he’s “all for #medical marijuana and its help.”
Biden’s history doesn’t support #federal #legalization. In fact, quite the opposite. He introduced and passed the #Biden-Thurmond Violent Crime Control Act of 1991, which the senator sponsored alongside segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), which proposed prohibiting people with “serious drug misdemeanor” convictions from purchasing firearms and creating a mandatory five year penalty for firearms #possession by “serious drug offenders.”
An amended version of the bill, which Biden voted in favor of, also made federal marijuana laws more punitive by reducing “from 100 to 50 the number of marihuana plants needed to qualify for specified penalties” and stipulated that people convicted of three felony drug charges should handed a sentence of life imprisonment without release.
In 2003, Biden sponsored a #bill to amend the CSA to “prohibit knowingly leasing, renting, or using, or intentionally profiting from, any place…whether permanently or temporarily, for the purpose of manufacturing, storing, distributing, or using a controlled substance.” The Illicit Drug #Anti-Proliferation Act, which later became the Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy (RAVE) Act, has been blamed for making festivals and music events where drugs like MDMA are taken less safe by discouraging operators from providing on-site harm reduction services out of fear they’d be prosecuted for knowingly allowing drug use. He cosponsored a later version as well.
Now that Biden is in the Presidential race, he has taken an about face. He has come out in support of decriminalizing marijuana and expunging records. A spokesperson claims “He would allow states to continue to make their own choices regarding legalization and would seek to make it easier to conduct research on marijuana’s positive and negative health impacts by rescheduling it as a schedule 2 drug,” the representative said.
#SenatorHarris stated that a Biden-Harris administration won’t be “half-steppin’” with “incrementalism” when it comes to criminal justice reform, the senator said. However, she stopped short of pledging marijuana legalization, saying they would only #decriminalize cannabis and expunge prior records.
Ultimately, Biden’s longstanding record of opposing reform and embracing punitive drug policies leave questions about what actions he’d be willing to take concerning the issue if elected to the Oval Office.
He remains out of step with the majority of his party on the question of legalization, and it doesn’t seem likely that cannabis reform would be at the top of his agenda if elected.
With #billions upon billions of dollars behind them, few small cannabis companies would be left and either a consolidation or eradication of current operators would occur. Save for #dispensaries and #deliveries, which I would imagine #Amazon gobbling up in no time.
In addition, the laws are ultimately not up to the President. While he has veto power, it’s the legislation that make the laws. If we end up with the current legislative balance or republican majority, I doubt we see federal legalization and instead, the status quo with more progress towards #hemp and #cannabidiols. If the legislation leans left in both the house and the senate, then I believe we will see something in the works to help alleviate #banking, some form of descheduling, but not a federal passing. All states would have to adopt cannabis legislation before the federal #government fully embraces the idea.
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