Biden White House Remains Opposed To Cannabis Legalization

At a press conference on Tuesday, Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ronald W. Wyden (D-OR), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) unveiled their new draft federal marijuana legalization legislation. At one point, the majority leader stated candidly that they “don’t have the votes necessary at this point.”

On the Senate floor, Schumer also addressed the cannabis legislation.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that Vice President Joe Biden remains opposed to the federal marijuana legalization bill. Still, he would be “encouraged” to see more gradual cannabis decriminalization proceed, which he had championed during the presidential campaign.

Senator Booker has stated that he will personally oppose any attempt to pass a simple marijuana banking bill without comprehensive, justice-focused cannabis legalization.

“I don’t know about the other senators,” said Senator Booker. “But I will do everything I can to prevent an easy banking bill that will allow all these corporations to make a lot more money off of this, rather than focusing on the restorative justice aspect.”

When asked if he has smoked marijuana since the state legalized it this month, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) said he has been “very busy at my job making sure we’re the number one state in the country.”

Following a recent report from Justice Clarence Thomas criticizing the state of federal cannabis policy, marijuana companies have petitioned the United States Supreme Court to reconsider their tax dispute with the IRS.

Federal Responses

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) tweeted that she doesn’t know “how big of a victory” it is for the Arizona criminal justice system as a former prosecutor herself. Low-level marijuana possession in Arizona has been made legal. In addition, people’s records can now be deleted.

“Heartened to hear that @SenSchumer and the Senate will soon take up marijuana decriminalization,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) tweeted. “Marijuana policy has long been used as a tool of racial discrimination, with ramifications in nearly every aspect of American life.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said in a tweet that the new Senate marijuana bill is a “step in the right direction.” Lee said she was pleased to see the Senate building on their success in the House, adding, “It’s time to end the War on Drugs.”

“I supported the MORE Act the House passed [the] last session (with my Homegrown Act included that would have accomplished this,” responded Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) on Twitter. “I welcome this new momentum for #cannabis reform in the Senate!”

The Senate bill that would permit cannabis banks to open gained one new cosponsor, bringing the total to 39.

State Responses

On Thursday, July 15 Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed legislation expanding equity in cannabis business licensing.

“I’m proud to see the Cannabis Advisory Commission hold its first meeting and establish a robust agenda,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) tweeted. The CAC will be critical in ensuring the continued effective regulation of Nevada’s cannabis industry.”

“No one has ever overdosed on marijuana,” South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham tweeted. “And you have to wonder how many of the 93,000 people who died from drug overdoses last year would still be alive if marijuana were legalized nationwide.”

The higher education commissioner of Rhode Island spoke about the potential impact of cannabis legalization on colleges.

Pesticides approved for use on cannabis in Washington State have been updated, according to state regulators.

Cannabis businesses in Arizona have received tax compliance reminders to remind them to pay their taxes.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation hosted a webinar on marijuana rule enforcement.

Oklahoma regulators have updated their list of licensed medical cannabis laboratories and transporters.

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