Joe Biden has won Presidential race in the United States. His vice president elect, Kamala Harris will be the nation’s first person of color and first woman to hold the designation. The outcome will have serious effects for the legalization of cannabis federally. Cannabis legalization is much more likely under a Democratic federal government.
One thing is absolute, from this year’s election, voters from all parties are overwhelmingly in support of legalizing cannabis. This year, every cannabis initiative passed including recreational cannabis in South Dakota, Montana, Arizona, and New Jersey. Medical cannabis was passed by historic margins in Mississippi and South Dakota.
Before this year’s election, the highest vote on a legalization initiative was 57% in California four years ago. This year, the red state of Montana passed with the same 57%, Arizona passed with 60%, and New Jersey by 67%. It is fair to say America has turned the corner on the issue of cannabis public is concerned, this issue is over. We just need politicians to catch up to the voters.
A Democratic convention held in August provided some insight to the policies the party will pursue. It was recommended that cannabis be legalized for medical use and for states to then decide on recreational legalization.
The following are legal recommendations from the policy package when it comes to next steps with cannabis states.
Decriminalize marijuana use and legalize marijuana for medical purposes at the federal level. Allow states to make their own decisions about legalizing recreational use. Automatically expunge all past marijuana convictions for use and possession. Lift budget rider blocking DC from taxing and regulating legal marijuana and remove marijuana use from the list of deportable offenses. Encourage states to invest tax revenue from legal marijuana industries to repair damage to Black and brown communities hit hardest by incarceration.
The recommended policy moves would not, however, remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.