Joe Biden, The Cannabis Savior?
What would a Biden Administration look like for Weed?
Many of our readers asked us how Trump or Biden would approach cannabis if elected President.
Our Trump cannabis thoughts are ( here).
Team Biden on the other hand, has a more robust, game-changing plan for cannabis in America.
First, a little legalization background.
In two-thirds of US states, cannabis is legalized in some medical capacity. And in 11 states, including the entire West Coast, cannabis is legal recreationally for adults age 21 and older.
Interestingly, in the last 2 years 66% of Americans polled favored NATIONWIDE LEGALIZATION.
But at the federal level, cannabis is still treated like a second class citizen due to its classification as a Schedule I drug.
There are two federal bills currently circling Congress that deal with cannabis regulation, legalization, and decriminalization:
The MORE Act got stuck in the US House of Representatives in 2019, while the SAFE Act passed the US House, but has been stuck idling in the US Senate. Thanks Mitch McConnell!
Thankfully, the states keep pressing forward.
This election cycle, 5 more states (Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota) will be voting on further legalization of cannabis.
But back to Biden and the big questions…
- What would his administration’s approach be to cannabis at the federal level?
- How would Kamala Harris affect or influence Joe’s decisions?
- What effect do AOC, Bernie and the more liberal left have on Joe’s decisions?
- What’s the most likely scenario for cannabis in 2021 with a Joe Biden administration?
Let’s tackle the first one by linking to Joe’s “Justice” Policy Page on his website. He states very clearly that he will, “ Decriminalize, expunge prior convictions, legalize federally for medical purposes, reschedule cannabis to a schedule II drug, and leave any remaining legalization decisions up to the states. “
Now I’m slightly paraphrasing his policy page, but in effect Joe pledges to do everything but FULL FEDERAL LEGALIZATION.
It’s an encouraging policy position for a leading candidate in the US, but Joe’s past issues with cannabis still create cause for concern.
His crime bill in 1994 led to thousands of drug-related charges and jail sentences for Americans. And as recently as 2010, he said that “ marijuana was a gateway drug “.
But Joe has significantly evolved his thinking. And pairing him with Senator Kamala Harris only helps.
She’s committed publicly to full decriminalization and criminal record expungement for cannabis consumers. And she was co-sponsor of the MORE Act in the Senate.
So in regards to the open questions…
- Joe’s administration would do everything short of Full Cannabis Legalization in the US
- Kamala will help push Joe to pursue cannabis supportive bills and executive orders
Now to the liberal left..
AOC and Bernie would love to fully legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis at the federal level. They want no one in jail for cannabis related offenses. And to be honest with the country swinging ever more liberal…it seems like only a matter of time before they get what they want.
They may be emboldened by a Biden-Harris win to push for full legalization and supportive legislation at the federal level.
But whether Biden or Trump wins, the liberal left and America as a whole have effectively pushed this conversation about cannabis legalization to an inevitability. It will happen, eventually.
Lastly, what is the MOST LIKELY CANNABIS SCENARIO for a Biden-Harris Administration?
There’s two scenarios that really matter:
- Biden wins President, holds House, loses Senate
- Biden wins President, holds House, wins Senate
In the first scenario, the only true difference between where we are today would be that Biden instead of Trump would lead and sign any cannabis bills. But one of the most important pieces of legislation would get increased limelight…the SAFE Banking Act.
Most industry observers believe that regardless of who wins the election, the SAFE Banking Act will pass the Senate in 2021.
I’m not so certain, especially if Mitch McConnell retains his Speakership.
But hey, stay positive!
The second scenario is where things could really heat up for the cannabis industry.
If Democrats win all 3 chambers of power in the US, things will shift in a big way. Most likely both the SAFE Banking Act and the MORE Act would be passed in 2021. In addition, federal rules surrounding banking, research, and regulation may shift or be removed altogether.
But one concern remains for the cannabis industry.
Team Biden has said they would support moving cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II at the federal level.
While that seems fantastic on the surface, many industry insiders fear the tyrannical rule of the FDA.
You see, by moving cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II, the FDA would take over regulation and enforcement of cannabis health and marketing claims. All the freedom that cannabis has to claim pain relief, improved brain function, etc would have to be rigorously tested and approved by the FDA.
Right now cannabis, and especially hemp, exists in a similar gray market to supplements. You can make some health claims, and you won’t get in too much trouble if your claims aren’t that real.
That gray legal framework would change immediately with a rescheduling.
Instead, Team Biden should push for a full descheduling and removal from the Substance List.
We shall see what a Biden-Harris Administration will ultimately do if they win, but for now, we can glean a good roadmap of what 2021 might look like with a Democratic President and Congress. It could be pretty nice!
If elected, Joe Biden will try to do everything but full federal legalization.
VP Kamala Harris will help push for further liberalization of cannabis laws.
And the FDA may take over cannabis regulation and enforcement due to a rescheduling of cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II
In general, a Biden Administration would be mostly positive, a little negative, and overall progress for the cannabis industry.
Originally published at http://investingincannabis.tv on November 3, 2020.