Probably much to the surprise of many political followers, American Presidential candidate and former VP Joe Biden announced two weeks ago that he supports decriminalizing marijuana - but not legalization.
While the latter may offend many fans of the green leaf, the former is a much bigger surprise given Biden’s former position and supporter of the war on drugs as Senator. He even contributed to the installment of the harsh penalties for drugs.
And now, now it seems that Biden’s made a 180 degree turn, at least when it comes to campaigning, and has joined the ever growing chorus of candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination in support of cannabis.
Yet, Biden does want to leave the decision on whether to legalize marijuana to the states themselves. Which as such doesn’t sound like a big move forward but his support to decriminalize cannabis could be the most important move in the current history of legal cannabis as it would lift the many clouds on the sector by rescheduling marijuana as a schedule 2 drug. As such it would also facilitate the Banking Act’s passing.
Biden also says he would support and promote expungement of [minor] criminal records for marijuana possession and/or consumption. Furthermore he supports automatic expungement, meaning that previously convicted citizens wouldn’t have to file a petition to have their record cleared. Yet, in the statement made he didn’t specify any further details about it and whether it also applies to home growers.
Lastly, decriminalization would make it easier to conduct research, as well as provide researchers with decent quality weed.
“... would allow states to continue to make their own choices regarding legalization and would seek to make it easier to conduct research on marijuana’s positive and negative health impacts by rescheduling it as a schedule 2 drug.”
— Andrew Bates, Biden campaign spokesperson to CNN
Given Biden’s track record on criminal matters it is difficult to estimate the true support for the topic, or whether it is just a move to not lose the support of potential marijuana loving voters who could opt for one of the many other democratic presidential candidates. Several of which are already actively supporting federal bills in favor of the cannabis industry’s evolution and do support federal legalization.
Yet, Biden’s position seems to be one of compromise — and electoral strategy — leaving the decision to the states, and their local electorate.
Is Biden’s position sufficient for the cannabis loving smoke member? Or is it #legalizeit or bust? Do you even believe his intentions to be genuine or merely pure campaign strategy? Where do republicans stand on this less outspoken position?