The importance of cannabis reform and its role in the presidential elections 2020 is one of the many signs that show the journey of cannabis into our lives.
The current term has seen significant progress in liberating the use of marijuana for medicinal uses in various regions. And the statistics show that the pattern will prevail to spread far and wide across countries.
With President Trump seeking a second term as the Republican nominee, the world is eagerly waiting to understand his stand in this journey.
The democrats and its possible nominees have also shared their views about marijuana that could be an essential point in deciding their scope to victory.
Marijuana is a substance that held the stamp as a schedule 1 drug for more than a few decades. The changing perspective towards the budget buds following the compelling research evidence towards its medicinal value has been a valuable turn of events for the plant.
Today nearly two-thirds of the voting population stand with the movement of legalization. It leads us to believe that the fate of the administration expected to gain the reign in the following elections will largely depend on their side in this battle.
The Existing Administration: Republicans
President Donald Trump
The current administration, led by Donald Trump, runs for the second term in the 2020 elections. Although he hasn’t taken exclusive steps towards Cannabis reforms in the country, President Trump stands in favor of decriminalization.
He leaves it open for the states to take their stance on legalization independently. He has also been in support of medicinal marijuana use in the country and has acknowledged the therapeutic value of the plant.
President Trump has continued to share mixed signals regarding marijuana legalization. Although he had a rocky stand on the use of recreational marijuana use during his campaign in 2015, the Farm Bill in 2018 includes provisions for the legalization of hemp cultivation.
But several sources state that the spending bill of February 2019 indicates that the president reserves the right to ignore the state provisions offered for the plant and interfere with their decisions if necessary.
So far, the party is yet to share a solid viewpoint on the issue. Yet the President stands in favor of decriminalization.
Joe Walsh: Former Illinois Congressman
Walsh has taken a clear stance in the marijuana legalization battle through his twitter feed. He supports complete legislation of the plant for both medicinal as well as recreational purposes.
Walsh, in fact, admitted to smoking weed in the past. He believes that cannabis should be legal for usage for adults above 21, just like in the case of alcohol. His vote for an amendment to shield federal interference in medical marijuana states shows support to his view on the issue.
Bill Weld: Former Governor Massachusetts
The former US. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Bill Weld claims to have been pro-legalization of medical marijuana since 1992.
In 2016 Weld supported a recreational marijuana ballot in his home state of Massachusetts and partnered later that year with Gary Johnson and pledged to put a stop to federal marijuana prohibition if elected.
The Opposition`s Stand: Democrats
Tulsi has been an advocate of cannabis reforms and been vocal towards the changing political scenario concerning the plant since her active years. She has constantly taken a stand for various marijuana laws and amendments on the House floor.
In 2018, she acted as the sponsor for the bill introduced to decriminalize cannabis and remove it from the list of controlled substances.
In July 2019, she also filed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act that aims to take comprehensive measures to decriminalize the plant under federal laws. It also resolves to release existing convictions targeted towards low -income groups and communities of color.
Her service in the Hawaii Army National Guard is of interest, as it gives her a strong knowledge base to stand in support of medical marijuana for veterans.
Her public criticism of steps taken by the government against cannabis, such as vetoing state legalization, shows her open support for introducing the plant to the world.
While Marianne has never been very vocal about her stance on the marijuana game. She sure has indicated her wholehearted support towards the legalization of the plant.
The absence of her role in the political office so far leaves her with no votes or co-sponsor support on her side to judge her level of commitment in this regard. Yet, her intension to divert weed tax into progressive reforms such as providing universal health care, free college tuition, improving minimum wage limit, student loan forgiveness inclines towards offering a supporting hand for legalizing the plant.
Andrew Yang: Entrepreneur
His site states his interest in legalizing the plant on a federal level to remove the dilemmas and ambiguity that surround the various substance related to the plant currently.
His experience in the area of business reflects his motive to encourage trade and business opportunities in the segment of the cannabis industry. It will enable better opportunities to buy cannabis seeds and cannabis-related products. It will enhance the revenue opportunities for the state.
He also shares his support to expunge convictions of weed use or procession and early release for some non-violent drug offenders. The 2020 policy page for the presidential elections reflects these intensions with much clarity.
As a former hedge fund manager and an environmental advocate, Tom Steyer`s views and decisions regarding marijuana had been very unclear and ambiguous.
However, in 2018, Tom Stayer shared that he is in support of legalization and would like to focus on issues such as clearing marijuana banking problems. It would enable him and other interested investors to fund cannabis businesses.
Steyer was an active part of the 2016 criminal justice reform campaign that aims to offer parole for non-violent felons, including for non-violent cannabis offenses. He has also acknowledged smoking cannabis outside the US in October 2019.
Joe Biden: Former Vice President, Former Senator US – Delaware
Joe Biden is the only candidate who has a history of taking an open stand against the federal legalization of marijuana. While he believed in rescheduling marijuana as a Schedule II drug to encourage more research, his statement in 2010 states that he believes cannabis is a gateway drug, and legalization is a far too progressive step.
But Biden took a step back in the recent months and shared a rather open view about marijuana legalization through a 10-page justice reform proposal. He currently stands in support of decriminalizing marijuana and believes that no one should be in jail because of cannabis use.
He shared that the decision of legalization will remain with the individual states and that one can expect this type of law established by the president. The statement stands as a way of convincing a larger group of young voters who believe in the need for legalization.
This change in view has been a significant statement in the political arena given it came from a candidate who has stood strong on his point of waging a war against drugs in the past elections.
With the power to influence federal legalization, the senators have indeed already taken their step forward towards the federal legalization of marijuana.
The list includes Cory Booker – Senator New Jersey, Kamala Harris – Former Attorney General and US Senator California, VT, Elizabeth Warren – US Senator, Massachusetts, who are all co-sponsors of the Senate Bill.
The bill aims not only to federally legalize marijuana but also to eliminate the records of criminals convicted in marijuana offense. It also initiates a fund to support communities that faced losses due to the war on drugs. Various other US representatives in the administration have similar viewpoints in support of decriminalization and legalization of cannabis.
Bernie Sanders – US Senator Vermont Former Mayor of Burlington
Bernie Sander`s take on Cannabis is crystal clear with his announcement stating legalization of the plant if he were to become president.
Like most of the presidential candidates 2020 this election, he has taken a strong stand to decriminalize the plant. He has also shared his motive to expunge convicts in weed-related cases and ban the box in employment applications that require individuals to reveal their previous convictions in this regard. He also has a history of backing bills that aims to reclassify the plant as a schedule 2 drug to enhance access to the plant for expansion in research and business opportunities.
Classifying the overall take of the presidential candidates, we see that most of them take a middle ground, where they support decriminalization and leave the decision of legalization to the administration of the independent state.
With a mixed response towards legalization and decriminalization from both parties, the future of cannabis lies deeply in the output of presidential elections 2020 and vice versa.