Cannabis reform, or lack thereof, appears an influential factor in the upcoming presidential election based on recent comments by both campaigns.
Comments from a top Biden-Harris aide show how the Democratic presidential ticket has prioritized cannabis reform ahead of the 2020 election. Symone Sanders, a senior advisor to Biden, stated in a recent interview the potential administration wants to establish preemptive criminal justice reform and that includes cannabis records.
“We’re really reforming the criminal justice system so we’re preventing things on the front end,” Sanders said, as Marijuana Moment first reported.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris don’t believe anyone should be in jail for drug offenses only,” she continued. “They believe that marijuana should be decriminalized and folks with marijuana convictions should have those automatically expunged.”
This does not represent a new stance by the Biden administration, however. Biden running mate Kamala Harris had previously reiterated that cannabis decriminalization was a primary concern, as well as expunging prior cannabis records. Harris, who has had a complicated history with cannabis reform, is also a lead Senate sponsor on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, which will receive a vote in the House this month.
Some thought Harris may push Biden further to the left on marijuana. Although the ticket announced no new changes to their policy on cannabis reform, the campaign and has mentioned the issue more and more in recent months.
Sanders membered a policy task force formed between Biden and Bernie Sanders to issue guidelines on important issues for the Democratic party. Advocates had hoped the task force would also convince Biden to push for legalization, a position that would be in line with many Democratic party members.
But Biden has remained firm on his policies. He believes in cannabis decriminalization and expunging past marijuana records. He also supports legalizing medicinal marijuana and re-scheduling the plant to remove current restrictions imposed on cannabis research.
Cannabis reform, or lack thereof, appears an influential factor in the upcoming presidential election. At the same time as the Biden campaign’s comments, President Donald Trump has told Republicans to keep legalization off the ballots if they want to. Trump reportedly fears that cannabis could lose him the election and requests regular updates where legalization is on the 2020 ballot.