In a recent interview, Kamala Harris (Democrat-CA), Democratic Party vice-president nominee, stated again that decriminalizing cannabis would be an administrative priority if Joe Biden and herself win the election. Democrats support marijuana decriminalization and expunging marijuana criminal records, in general, and have consistently voiced support for legislation to push these initiatives.
The interview was last Saturday on The Grio and the Harris spoke about the prospective Democratic government’s criminal justice agenda, comparing it with that of President Donald Trump. Harris reiterated the cannabis reform would be one of their policy objectives.
Harris stated, “We have a commitment to decriminalizing marijuana and expunging the records of those who have been convicted of marijuana offenses. When you examine the horrible war on drugs and the disproportionate effect it had on black males and generating then criminal records which have deprived individuals of access to housing and jobs and basic benefits.”
Cannabis reform advocates have enjoyed the senator’s repeated calls for marijuana reform on the campaign trail, they do not like her trend to refer to the drug war in the past tense, as she did here by referring to the impact the policy “had”, not recognizing that those prosecutions and enforcement disparities have persisted. FBI data shows that there were over 1.5 million drug-related arrests in the U.S. along last year and approximately one third of them were for marijuana.
Some people are also claiming that Harris has scaled back her reform drive since joining the Democratic ticket as Joe Biden’s running mate. When Harris was herself running for the presidential nomination, she strongly supported cannabis legalization while Biden did not. In general, Democrats support marijuana decriminalization and expungement and Biden does back modestly rescheduling the drug under federal law, allowing states set their own policies and legalizing medical cannabis.
Harris, who’s the lead Senate sponsor of a bill to deschedule marijuana on a federal level, said last month that a Biden government wouldn’t be “half-steppin” cannabis reform or chasing “incrementalism.” Harris has repeatedly discussed cannabis decriminalization on the campaign trail. She said during a vice presidential debate earlier this month she and Biden “will decriminalize marijuana and we will expunge the records of people who were convicted of marijuana crimes.”
Click here to watch the Kamala Harris interview on The Grio and discussions on the black male vote and Democrats support marijuana decriminalization and expungement.