After last nights mess of a presidential debate, which if you watched, you are probably now feeling less confident in either parties ability to lead the country through the troubling times ahead. The presidential candidates stance on marijuana legalization is going to be a hot topic for the upcoming election and both sides need to tighten up their official stance so voters know exactly where they stand. Here is how they currently stand and a little background on their past.
Trump & Pence
The Republican candidates are tough to read in regards to this situation. The overall Republican stance on legalizing recreational marijuana has always been that cannabis is a gateway drug but could be used for medicinal purposes.
Sponsors for all the marijuana legalization bills in Congress tilt heavily toward Democrat congressmen, which is just another sign that this matter is the elephant in the room within the Republican House and Senate.
Trump said in a June, 2018, press conference standing outside his helicopter that he supported the STATES Act, currently with 65 cosponsors and among a handful of marijuana legalization bills in Congress, after previously stating that it had been an issue for states to determine.
Like many things Trump, how he’ll really come down about legalizing cannabis is still unknown, even though his long-time political consultant Roger Stone is an admitted marijuana user.
Some pundits speculate Trump will create an”October surprise” and legalize cannabis merely to garner a few more votes and interrupt the Democrats.
Biden & Harris
Joe Biden created an anti-cannabis perception while he was a Delaware senator from 1973 to 2009, supporting the war on drugs and sponsoring many bills in the late 1980s and during the 1990s. Among those bills he cosponsored was the infamous Anti Drug Abuse Act of 1986, one of the important bills that resulted in racial injustice and disparities in arrests.
However, Biden has demonstrated a softening of his stance, saying on”ABC This Week” on August 23 that his government is “going to be certain we change the whole system in the manner in which we deal with criminal justice from punishment to rehabilitate. No one should be in jail because they are addicted to drugs. They ought to be going into mandatory drug treatment, that is why I set up drug courts.”
Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential running mate, Kamala Harris stated that the government will be taking a look at a policy that will be about decriminalizing marijuana.
Biden has said that he wishes to reschedule cannabis to Schedule 2, allowing cannabis to be available for medical research. That is about as close as he’s gotten to legalizing marijuana, but it is still far from his past war on drugs stance. His present position is in line with the Democrat platform: “Democrats will decriminalize marijuana usage and reschedule it through executive action on the national level. We’ll encourage legalization of medical marijuana, and think states should have the ability to create their own decisions about recreational use. The Justice Department shouldn’t establish federal prosecutions of conduct that’s legal in the state level. Past criminal convictions for marijuana should be automatically expunged.”
Harris takes a more aggressive stance on legalizing cannabis, and wishes to fully decriminalize and legalize both medical and recreational cannabis with the MORE Act which she introduced to Congress in July, 2019.
Where Do We Stand
So what happens based on the current presidential candidates stance on marijuana legalization?
If Trump/Pence win in November, there will likely be no motion on legalization unless its labeled to a Republican version of social justice reform. The government may proceed with rescheduling it to permit medical research. Also, a Republican Senate majority will most likely continue to kill any cannabis legalization bills.
If Biden/Harris win in November, they will probably create a new cannabis legalization bill which will be a type of hybrid STATES Act combined with the MORE Act. Should they get a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate, cannabis legalization might happen a bit faster state by state, even the whole country.
Both sides will need to eventually address what’s going on with cannabis around the nation particularly in light of bringing back economic stability. The marijuana industry is booming during COVID-19, and the two candidates need to cover the unbelievable revenue that the business is bringing in.
In November, New Jersey voters will be voting on legalizing adult use cannabis. recreational marijuana industry in New Jersey itself, with a population of almost 9 million people, would reach $850 million — $950 million in sales annually by 2024, according to a Marijuana Business Daily projection.
The cannabis industry is forecast to get $30 billion in sales by 2023–more than double the earnings in 2018, a figure which might vary by the end of the year based on customer demand.
These are all facts that can’t be ignored for either presidential candidates stance on marijuana legalization.