The cannabis community is miffed as all get out at President Joe Biden over his latest drug war shenanigans. Although he gave them a smidgen of hope during his campaign that they’d see some kind of modest marijuana reform when he took office, all they keep getting is the same run-around anti-marijuana malarkey that they’ve experienced for decades.
The president is still in his first 100 days, and already he’s fired a slew of staffers for using marijuana (reminder: it’s legal to grow, possess and use in Washington D.C.), and there’s been no indication that he’s lifted a finger to create more research opportunities, legalize for medicinal use, and eliminate criminal penalties. Mind you, Biden included all of these matters in his campaign platform early last year.
Meanwhile, the polls show that Americans are ready for marijuana to be legalized nationwide. The latest poll from Gallup shows 68% believe weed should be taxed and regulated like alcohol and tobacco. Other polls have demonstrated similar results. It has been said that once public opinion ranks favorably at 65% or above for several years, Congress would be forced to at least give the issue some consideration. And it appears lawmakers are finally going to examine the possibilities.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and two other senators plan to introduce legislation soon designed to end marijuana prohibition in the United States once and for all. The problem is President Biden never signed on to support widespread cannabis reform. In fact, Senate Democrats and Biden aren’t at all on the same page when it comes to how national marijuana reform should be designed. The Dems want to make it fully legal at the federal level, while Biden only wants to decriminalize.
You see, pot makes Biden nervous.
A recent video from a former member of Biden’s criminal justice task force claims that he refused to make federal marijuana legalization part of his campaign for fear that it would cost him the election. He maintained this attitude even though the task force showed him that supporting legal weed would actually help him. “Biden wanted to commit more study,” the video states.
Still, considering the outpouring of support for legalization in the latest polls, Biden could be forced to change his tune — and fast. Either that or he might actually risk losing his bid for reelection.
It is for this reason that we should be welcoming the president’s anti-marijuana stance. It is the perfect publicity for America as it inches its way out of pot prohibition. Sure, there are plenty of legislative cobwebs that will make it difficult to pass this kind of far-reaching reform in 2021 — even with Democrats holding the majority — but the more national jibber-jabber on this issue, the better.
Right now, understanding that Biden’s legislative agenda is crippled by the filibuster, Senate Democrats are urging Republicans to work with them. If they don’t, the Democrats are threatening to leave the filibuster in pieces out behind the Capitol. Republican leadership has sworn that any move to amend or kill the filibuster will lead to a scorched Earth Senate. Yet, Democrats know that legislative destruction means that Republicans won’t be able to fulfill any of their agenda either. So it’s either deadlock, or adjustments that allow both parties to get some work done.
If the negotiations were to go in the favor of Democrats, marijuana reform could persevere this year.Biden might even support it.
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The Biden Administration halfway admitted last week that they might be open to allowing marijuana to be made fully legal. During a recent press briefing, when asked about the Biden pot firings, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “So that isn’t about anyone’s personal point of view—it’s about working through the process, the history and modernizing and taking steps to address the fact that marijuana is legal in a number of states across the country. It is still illegal federally.”
So, if Congress could just get a marijuana bill in front of President Biden that would change the law, he would surely sign it, right? If he didn’t, the pro-pot beasts, which are breeding like rabbits, would emerge to call him out. It would be huge news. The fact that his cannabis-related firings have made headlines in every major news outlet over the past few weeks shows that more of the nation find his latest actions a bit antiquated. If Senate Democrats can get a marijuana measure through both houses and to President Biden’s desk for a signature, the pressure will be on him to sign it. Biden is already feeling the heat on this issue.
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It is conceivable that he will be soon forced to really listen to his roundtable and get a grip on the realities of the marijuana issue in this day and age. Of course, the more negative press he gets on this subject as his party prepares to go full steam ahead on it, the more he will have to defend his belief in maintaining prohibition. More than half the nation has legalized for one reason or another and while there might be some downsides, none are as tragic as continuing to uphold prohibition for another eighty years.
And let’s face it, after Biden spaced his thoughts during his first formal press conference last week, there’s a good chance that he doesn’t remember ever having an anti-marijuana stance in the first place.