Earl Blumenauer cautioned Biden from following too closely in Hillary Clinton’s footsteps, as he believes she would be President if she had supported cannabis legalization.
When presidential candidate Joe Biden announced his criminal justice reform plan, it included cannabis policies that appeared to be lacking compared to those proposed by other prominent Democratic party members. Almost none, however, have criticized Biden’s cannabis agenda until this week when one Democratic congressman described it as “essentially meaningless.”
The comment came from Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. The congressman appeared in a video interview with Canopy Growth executive David Culver, who asked Blumenauer about Biden’s marijuana platform.
“[Legalization] is demanded by the American public. It’s no longer controversial,” Blumenauer said. “For the campaign to talk about decriminalization is essentially meaningless. Your grandmother is for decriminalization.
“Over two-thirds of the American public supports full legalization. A majority of Republicans support full legalization and an overwhelming majority of young people,” he continued. “So I think that’s where we’re going. I’m optimistic that before the election we’ll get a better statement. But ultimately, what’s going to matter is what we do in Congress and we are poised, maybe even this Congress, to fully legalize, but certainly in the next Congress.”
When he stated that over two-thirds of Americans support legalization, Blumenauer was referencing a 2019 Gallup poll that found 66% of people favor legalizing marijuana use. In addition, 51% of Republicans supported legalizing while 47% opposed such action. Among millennials, 80% wanted legal cannabis.
Cannabis advocates hoped a unity task force led by Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders would push the Vice President on marijuana reform, but the group’s recommendations ultimately reiterated Biden’s decriminalization stance.
Financial analysts still believe 2021 will be the year for cannabis legalization in the United States. Polls indicate the Democrats should take control of the Senate in the upcoming Election, which will make passing cannabis legislation easier than it is now. Current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to let any marijuana-related legislation hit the floor throughout his tenure, but that would change under Democratic leadership. Should Congress pass substantial cannabis reform, Joe Biden is not expected to veto any such bills.
Blumenauer still cautioned Biden from following too closely in Hillary Clinton’s footsteps. Supporting marijuana legalization “should’ve been a no-brainer for Hillary Clinton,” he said.
“But she never really fully embraced it,” he added. “I will go to my grave convinced that if she could have put together a coherent, rational position on legalization of cannabis, she would’ve been President.”