With an anti-drug president and a Senate leader both in favor of keeping marijuana an illegal drug at the federal level, what hope is there for the future of legalization?
If you held out hope that because Joe Biden was a Democrat and “weed legalization is just around the corner with the House and Senate, blah, blah,” then last night’s State of the Union speech pretty much confirmed the opposite.
Joe Biden, the 40-year-leader of the War on Drugs, and someone who has personal family experience with drug abuse, is no fan of drugs or marijuana.
Legalization just got postponed to Mitt Romney or Donald Trump, part two. Oh wait, those guys both hate weed, too.
If you watched the SOTU, most of the world was glued to his Ukrainian discussion to open the speech, and rightly so. After that, these were the highlights of his mentions of drugs in general.
- Super high-tech scanner now at the border to help detect illegal drugs
- Helping other countries set up similar scanners and teams to detect drug trafficking
- Opioid addiction is a big problem in America
- We feel for anyone under the addiction umbrella and will work with and your families, so don’t give up the fight from drug addiction
President Biden did not reference marijuana directly, but if the above references are any indication of his views on “drugs” — and yes, marijuana was a big drug that Biden helped write the laws for the War on Drugs — he is no fan of weed to this day. He pretty much stopped just short of saying “drugs are bad” in a very South Park way.
Cannabis to get people off opioids shows great hope, but would Joe even consider that? Could anyone even convince him at this age that marijuana is actually a good plant that is helping people in many ways? I don’t even think he could comprehend that at this point of his life cycle and long anti-drug history.
To top the night off for marijuana fans, the second half of the speech showed cameos of none other than marijuana enemy #1, Senator Mitch McConnell. If you are a regular reader of our blog, you know our stance on legalization is “marijuana will be legalized at the Federal level when Mitch McConnell says it will be, it is that simple”. Now, with an anti-drug president and a Senate leader both in favor of keeping marijuana an illegal drug at the federal level, what hope is there for the future of legalization?
Could the tax revenue and job numbers get so overwhelming — over 400,000 cannabis jobs in America and counting — that the politicians all the way up to the President would have no choice but to legalize it at the federal level? Long shot. They could just keep the status-quo, let states legalize step-by-step, and never change federal law.
The prospects under Biden are slim. The prospects under a second Trump term may actually be better as he may not have as big a beef with weed and look more at the economics of it and realize he is sitting on a federal tax goal mine. Romney, not a fan, as a famous quote of his is that “only stupid people use marijuana”.
Marijuana Policy Project issued this statement after the President’s State of the Union Speech:
“President Joe Biden’s failure to address cannabis policy reform is an affront to the American people. In spite of overwhelming public support, his refusal to support even modest reforms to our country’s archaic federal cannabis laws is deeply disappointing and is out of step with promises made while he was on the campaign trail.
“We’ve waited long enough for action. Prohibition has failed miserably in this country, and even one more cannabis-related arrest is too many — especially when a disproportionate number of those being arrested are people of color. As long as cannabis is still criminalized at the federal level, there will be limitations to what states can accomplish.
“MPP remains dedicated to keeping the pressure on the Biden administration to live up to their promise and take long overdue action to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level while simultaneously sustaining the momentum for reform in state legislatures.”