The United States is just days away from their 2020 election, with voting finishing on November 3rd. While COVID-19 has diverted conversations around cannabis, the drug is still a major topic for both the Democrats and the Republicans.
The recreational use of cannabis is currently legal in 11 states and Washington DC. With medical cannabis currently legal in some form in 33 jurisdictions. However, 67% of Americans believe recreational cannabis should be legalized, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.
Currently, there are two acts currently pending in the US congress that influence the cannabis industry. This includes the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would allow cannabis businesses to access banking services, and the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which serves a range of pro-pot purposes.
The MORE Act’s lead sponsor is Senator Kamala Harris, who is now Biden’s choice for Vice President. Unfortunately for the cannabis industry, Biden is a hesitant supporter of cannabis.
As President, Biden could decriminalise cannabis with an executive order, but experts find this unlikely. Instead, it’s more likely Biden will do other things to help the cannabis industry, including expunging the records of Americans with a cannabis conviction, strengthening discrimination laws and supporting the SAFE Banking Act.
While the Democrats may be supportive of the legalisation of cannabis, the makeup of Congress will also influence any cannabis policy change. If the Senate ends up a Republican majority, it’s bad news for bud.
For the full legalisation of cannabis, America is likely to need a Biden presidency and a Democrat-controlled senate.
If they end up with another round of the tweeting madman in the White House, the combination of a Republican-controlled Senate and President Trump is unlikely to result in radical change.
However, Biden may allow states to rule on cannabis themselves, which could be positive for the industry. Recreational cannabis is currently on the ballot in Mississippi, Arizona, Montana, South Dakota and New Jersey. This momentum could shift public policy as it may influence how senators vote on cannabis policy.
But will it be enough?
Reflecting on Biden’s bud position, 4Front Ventures founder Kris Krane as quoted by Cannabis Business Times as saying:
I think if the Democrats have the unified government come next year, there’s a significant chance that we may see very meaningful reform at the federal level.
In other words, we will have to wait and see.