“President Biden Supports States’ Right To Legalize Cannabis” – (Forbes)

Today, I will be commenting on a Forbes article (written by Will Yakowics) on President Biden’s views of cannabis.

Let’s begin.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/willyakowicz/2021/04/20/president-biden-supports-states-right-to-legalize-cannabis/?sh=9e9734616604

On Tuesday, April 20, also known as 420, the cannabis high holiday, President Joe Biden’s White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said he supports a state’s right to legalize recreational marijuana.

“The president supports leaving decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, rescheduling cannabis as a Schedule II drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts and, at the federal level, he supports decriminalizing marijuana use and automatically expunging any prior criminal records,” Psaki said during a press briefing at the White House.

She added: “He also supports legalizing medicinal marijuana, so that’s his point of view on the issue.”

 

1.) While I have been pleasantly surprised at many of the actions of Biden so far (low bar considered), enough with the marijuana bias already.

I will grant that this may well be his way of trying to be bipartisan. And some people may move around the country in search of favourable marijuana legislation. But not everyone can. And frankly, people should not have to.

Not to mention that the next republican President may well reverse the hands-off policy on Cannabis just to spite democratic voters they are increasingly marginalizing VIA redistricting. And it is this very concern that has also kept the traditional banking sector out of the marijuana industry. In order for marijuana businesses to become more than just glorified drug dealers, financial institutions need assurances that their doing business won’t end in criminal conspiracy and money laundering charges later.

2.) While I applaud the fact that he is on board with decriminalization and the expunging of marijuana-related criminal records, that will only tackle part of the problem.

This still leaves cultivation and distribution in the hands of the underground. This means that issues like unregulated production and organized crime involvement still remain part of the process. While the legalization of medical marijuana is certainly a step in the right direction . . . not quite far enough.

 

The White House’s comments came hours after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made a pro-cannabis legalization speech on the floor of the Senate during what he referred to as “a very unofficial American holiday—420.”

“The War on Drugs has too often been a war on people, particularly people of color,” Schumer said. “It makes no sense—it’s time for changed. I believe the time has come to end the federal prohibition on marijuana in this country, and I’m working with Senators Booker and Wyden to do just that.”

Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said his thinking has evolved, especially after seeing his home state legalize adult-use cannabis with a robust social justice program. The experiments of state-based legalization have been successful, he said.

“The doom and gloom predictions when states like Colorado and Oregon went forward and decriminalized and legalized never occurred,” he said. “In state after state, through ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments, the American people are sending a clear message that they want this policy changed.”

Schumer went on to say that he and Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden will bring their bill to the Senate in “the near future.”

“We hope to have a draft of a comprehensive reform effort, not to end the federal prohibition on marijuana, but to ensure restorative justice, protect public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations,” he said.

 

It’s nice to see these things being so openly discussed now. It’s time to right this decades-long wrong.

 

Back at the White House briefing room, a reporter asked Psaki if President Biden would sign Schumer’s bill to legalize cannabis on the federal level if it passed the Senate and landed on his desk.

“I have just outlined what his position is, which isn’t the same as the House and Senate have proposed,” Psaki said, evading a direct answer. “But they have not yet passed a bill.”

Another reporter pressed on, asking why President Biden still opposes the legalization of adult-use even though 70% of registered voters in America support it.

“Of course, we understand the movement that’s happening toward it, I’m speaking for what his position is and what’s long, consistently been his position,” she said. “He wants to decriminalize but again he’ll look at the research of the positive and negative impacts.”

Yet, what President Biden thinks about cannabis is likely irrelevant at this point. If Congress can get a bill on his desk, he’ll sign, Jaret Seiberg, an analyst at Cowen, wrote in a note published Monday.

“We believe there is too much focus on President Biden. It does not matter how he views legalization,” Seiberg wrote. “He will sign into law whatever cannabis bill that the Democratic Congress sends him. Legalization may not be Biden’s priority, but he will not be an obstacle to it becoming law.”

 

Despite what I said previously, this is certainly the good part (if accurate, and I can’t see why it wouldn’t be). Such legislation would certainly bode well for his poll numbers.

 

But, getting the 10 Republican votes needed to defeat a filibuster will be difficult, Seiberg wrote. “It is why the industry’s lobby efforts are critical. Legalization is unstoppable once there are 10 Senate GOP votes.”

 

But therein lies the flip side. The fucking fillibuster.

 

Despite the challenges ahead, Cowen is betting that this Congress will legalize cannabis.

Schumer is equally as positive that cannabis will be legalized federally under his leadership: “Hopefully, the next time this unofficial holiday 420 rolls around, our country will have made progress in addressing the massive over-criminalization of marijuana in a meaningful and comprehensive way,” Schumer said.

 

Are they right in this assessment?

Given that the US has so far been one-upped by Portugal, Canada and Mexico, hopefully, Americans can finally expect some rational drug reform in the near to mid-term future. Speaking of midterms, this legislation may well help with that election too!

For what it’s worth, the author of the previous article seems to think that this 420 (yesterday) will be the last wherein marijuana is illegal. I admire the optimism, but at the same time . . . sure. I’ll take being surprised in a GOOD way for a change.

Either way, it occurs to me that marijuana and its edible and drinkable derivatives have been legal in Canada since 2018, yet I have not once partaken in this now legal activity. Even with the nonsense of 2019 and the utter shit show that was 2020, all I medicated with was a lot of caffeine and a bit of alcohol here and there. 

What am I waiting for?

 

 

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