Some Lights on the Future of Cannabis in America
The day is finally coming for the legalization of marijuana, and Joe Biden is leaning towards an early form.
Four years now, with a president that has invoked violence, division, hatred in the U.S., citizens will get a new chance to pick a leader. Now, Joe Biden is up against the current commander in chief, and one of his main talking points is the legalization of weed.
Both Republican and Democratic administrations have supported the failure that is the war on drugs. Still, so far, it’s only encouraged supporting the end of the country’s long prohibition of marijuana.
A look beyond the legal history of the flower shows that it was medicinal. Way back in 1906, it’s use was restricted to medical, recreational, and industrial. However, in the 1920s, someone decided to prohibit it.
In the 1930s, cannabis was regulated as a drug in every state that enacted the Marihuana (yes, that’s how it was spelled) Tax Act of 1937.
Forty years later, in 1970, weed was classified as a Schedule I controlled substance and outlawed for both medical and recreational use after government officials passed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
Fifty years beyond that brings us to the present day.
As of January 2019, 33 states have legalized the use of cannabis once again for medical purposes. Recreational use is legal in 11 states, and 15 states have decriminalized its use (tickets only).
In the lead up to the 2020 election, both candidates have expressed support for marijuana’s medical use. However, both are also against its recreational use. What do you expect when two older men are the top candidates?
But one of them, Biden, does support some of the more progressive policies around marijuana legalization.
“Biden does not believe anyone should be in jail simply for smoking or possessing marijuana,” Biden campaign spokesman, Andrew Bates, told CNN. “He supports decriminalizing marijuana and automatically expunging prior criminal records for marijuana possession, so those affected don’t have to figure out how to petition for it or pay for a lawyer.”
As for Trump, the stance is much less lenient.
“I think the president is looking at this from the standpoint of a parent — a parent of a young person — to make sure we keep our kids away from drugs,” said Marc Lotter, the Trump campaign’s director of strategic communications. “They need to be kept illegal. That is the federal policy.”
The point? Hold your politicians accountable and keep pushing for the federal decriminalization of marijuana, as well as its legalization. States have led the way so far, but federal legislation may not be far away.
A bill co-sponsored by Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, is set to be voted on this month in the Senate. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act, or MORE Act, will erase criminal records of those with marijuana charges and reinvest grants for those impacted by the War on Drugs — mostly Black and Latinx individuals.