Biden or Trump to legalize marijuana
Biden or Trump to legalize marijuana

Whoever Legalizes Weed Wins the Presidency? - Democrats File Bill to Legalize Marijuana But Republicans Balk, Now What?

Will voters vote with their bong and pick the president based on his cannabis plans?

Posted by:
Joseph Billions on Monday May 13, 2024

biden trump on marijuana votes democrats file legalizatio covered how voters are looking at marijuana legalization as a key element of who they vote for in a story titled, "I Vote with My Bong". Data shows voters are more interested in marijuana politics than party lines when it comes the great green plant. Both policitcal parties are starting to take notice as poll numbers tighten up heaading into November.

Senate Democrats have reintroduced expansive legislation aimed at legalizing cannabis at the federal level. This marks a significant policy departure, backed by broad public support. However, this year's passage seems improbable given the upcoming November elections and the current state of divided government.


The Democratic platform for federal cannabis laws is fully represented by the proposed bill. By removing marijuana from the list of banned substances, where it is now ranked as one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs, its main goal is to end the federal restriction on the drug.


The legislation's main features include creating a new legal framework for cannabis, imposing taxes on the expanding cannabis business, expunging certain federal marijuana-related offenses from people's criminal histories, increasing research on the health effects of marijuana, and allocating federal funds to support people and communities harmed by the war on drugs.


Senate Democrats Reintroduce Expansive Cannabis Legalization Bill


The initiative, initially introduced in 2022, was spearheaded by Senators Chuck Schumer of New York, serving as the majority leader; Ron Wyden of Oregon, chairing the Finance Committee; and Cory Booker of New Jersey. Additionally, fifteen other Senate Democrats have lent their support as co-sponsors.


"On Wednesday, while addressing the Senate floor, Mr Schumer, the first majority leader to advocate for federal legalization, emphasized the detrimental impact of the nation's failed war on drugs, particularly on communities of color. He underscored the necessity of replacing this failed approach with a more equitable, sensible, and responsible cannabis regulation framework," the text reads.


The reintroduction of the bill occurred just a day after the Justice Department proposed relaxing restrictions on cannabis and downgrading its classification on the controlled substances list. While this move did not meet the demands of some advocates and numerous Democrats, it indicated a significant shift in the Biden administration's stance toward marijuana policy liberalization.


"Reclassification of cannabis is undoubtedly overdue, yet it represents only a partial solution," remarked Mr Schumer. "Congress must acknowledge the evolving landscape and heed the call of the majority of Americans for cannabis reform. It's time for legislative action to align with public sentiment and scientific evidence."


Despite the backing from prominent Democrats, the likelihood of the legislation advancing in Congress during an election year remains slim. With Republicans, many of whom oppose federal cannabis legalization, controlling the House and none endorsing the bill, its prospects are further dimmed. Congressional functions have been hindered by deep internal divisions within the Republican majority in the House. With few imperative bills remaining, proponents find limited opportunities to incorporate them into broader legislative agendas.


Opposition Voices Concerns Over Potential Commercialization of Legalized Marijuana


Former Obama, Bush, and Clinton administration drug policy advisor Kevin Sabet issued a warning about the dangers of legalization. He contended that the legalization of marijuana will cause the sector to become more commercialized, drawing comparisons to the rise of "Big Tobacco 2.0."


As the current president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-legalization advocacy group, Sabet urged against the commercialization of marijuana in the name of social justice. While acknowledging certain positive aspects of the bill, such as the expungement of criminal records and the removal of penalties for marijuana use, he stressed that legalization would essentially amplify the presence of a commercial industry.


"We must carefully consider the ramifications, especially in light of our detrimental experience with Big Tobacco," he remarked. "We need to question whether this would truly be beneficial for our society."


However, despite opposition from figures like Sabet, the legislation mirrors a growing trend of support among Democrats and across the nation, transcending political divides in both Republican and Democratic-leaning states. This support for legalizing access to marijuana holds significant political value, particularly in anticipation of an expected election rematch between President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump.


There is broad support across the country for legalizing in one way or another; according to a January Pew Research Center study, 88% of Americans think marijuana should be allowed for either medicinal or recreational use. At the moment, adult recreational use of small amounts of marijuana is permitted in 24 states, while 38 states have approved its use for medical purposes. Furthermore, legalization of marijuana has often garnered broad support on state ballots whenever it has been advocated, frequently outperforming the popularity of politicians from either party.


Proponents of legalization have stressed the significance of the issue as a political one and asked policymakers to consider it.


"Political dynamics are such that politicians are finding it more and more difficult to obstruct cannabis policy reform," stated Morgan Fox, political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "This issue serves as a rallying point for those advocating cannabis policy reform."


Political Dynamics Surrounding Cannabis Legalization in the Biden Administration


The Biden administration has been pushed to completely embrace legalization and include it more prominently into President Biden's reelection campaign by Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, a well-known proponent of cannabis legalization inside Congress. According to Blumenauer, the president should be able to better connect with young people on this topic. Although their support has been erratic, they could be crucial to the outcome in November.


The president's shifting position on cannabis is reflected in the Biden administration's decision to reduce it on the list of prohibited narcotics. Thousands of people convicted of minor drug charges have received pardons from President Biden as part of his attempts to remedy racial imbalances in the criminal justice system. President Biden's position has been reiterated by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who has stated that she is certain that no one should be imprisoned or prosecuted for the simple reason of consuming or having marijuana.


Former President Trump's position on legalization is more nuanced. In 2018, his administration authorized prosecutors to rigorously enforce federal marijuana restrictions in states that had relaxed their prohibitions. However, Trump later hinted at support for legislative proposals delegating legalization decisions to individual states, and he granted pardons to several nonviolent drug offenders.


Morgan Fox noted, "The topic of cannabis hasn't been a prominent feature in conversations, rallies, or media appearances. It remains uncertain how a potential future Trump administration would approach cannabis policy."


Congress is currently deliberating on more incremental measures aimed at loosening restrictions on marijuana, such as granting legal cannabis businesses access to financial services. While some of these bills enjoy bipartisan support, the majority are unlikely to progress in the current Congress due to opposition from Republicans.


Bottom Line


While Senate Democrats push forward with a comprehensive federal cannabis legalization bill, political hurdles loom large, particularly in a divided Congress and with opposition from Republicans. Despite growing public support and shifting stances within the Biden administration, the path to nationwide cannabis reform remains uncertain amidst ongoing debates and the upcoming November elections.






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