The US might soon have recreational cannabis legalised nationwide if Joe Biden wins the 2020 federal election.
As the US grapples with the murder of George Floyd, public opinion is quickly turning against Donald Trump. While he was previously estimated to win the November election by a landslide, political experts believe it is increasingly likely that America will put Biden in the white house.
Biden himself is no blunt fan, but members of the Democratic party are. If the Democrats win control over the White House and the Senate, federally decriminalising cannabis will be one of their first goals. Although states will still have to choose to legalise recreational cannabis, federal decriminalisation would give the industry the White House seal of approval.
The legalisation of recreational cannabis is an essential part of criminal justice and anti-racism reform, according to Boris Jordan, the chairman of Curaleaf Holdings Inc.
Biden will be under pressure from the left wing of the democratic party to move cannabis forward because of the social justice issues.
Although 11 US states have legalised the recreational use of cannabis, social activists are pushing for federal cannabis reform. Long term, this will begin to right the racist wrongs done by the war on drugs. According to activists, the war on drugs disproportionately targeted low income and minority communities, who were unable to fight back at even a state level.
Now, legalising recreational cannabis is a popular solution to the US’s economic problems. With over 5 million diagnosed cases of COVID19, their economy is grinding to a halt. As cannabis brought Colorado $1 billion in tax revenue last financial year, even marijuana’s most aggressive enemies are suggesting it as a solution – but it’s not all smokes and sunshine.
Despite the Democrat’s progressive attitude towards cannabis, Biden’s Unity taskforce has still been criticised for poor marijuana policies. Unlike Bernie Sanders, Biden’s cannabis policy proposals would only make cannabis a schedule 2 drug, rather than a full deschedulisation.
Without a full deschedulisation, seeking to expunge the criminal records of people prosecuted on low-level cannabis offences will be difficult. While states like New York and Nevada have begun pardoning people, federal legislation is needed to make meaningful social change. You can read more about that story here.