President Joseph Biden won office on a mostly progressive platform; he wanted to completely electrify the country’s transport sector and pass modest cannabis reform. Although most drug reform activists would much rather prefer more comprehensive reform, Biden was able to beat former President Donald Trump and take office. Since then, Biden has invested a significant amount of time working on an infrastructure bill that would, among other things, build a public network of charging stations.
However, a year after the Democrats clinched the Senate, House and White House, cannabis reform advocates say Biden still hasn’t acted on any of his modest cannabis promises. In fact, his administration’s actions on cannabis policy have been, by and large, restrictive and even hostile. Cannabis is still criminalized under federal law; thousands of individuals are still imprisoned for nonviolent cannabis offenses and the Controlled Substances Act still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance with no medical use.
This is despite the fact that more than 30 states have legalized cannabis for medical use and around 3.6 million patients across the country are actively benefiting from medical cannabis products made by leading companies such as Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (CSE: RWB) (OTCQX: RWBYF).
One positive thing the Biden administration has done for cannabis policy has been to let states implement their own cannabis policies without federal intervention. However, the federal government’s hands-off policy when it comes to the state-legal marijuana industry has also led to a lack of clarity that causes problems for both consumers and industry stakeholders. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) continues to deny people who use state-legal cannabis access to federally assisted housing.
Given the fact that Biden made marijuana policy a part of his presidential campaign platform, many advocates are disappointed that he still hasn’t made any moves. The fact that the White House punished staff who admitted to past marijuana use and included a budget proposal to ban Washington, DC, from legalizing marijuana sales doesn’t help. Morgan Fox, NORML’s new political director says, it is “extremely disappointing that Biden has failed to live up to his campaign promises and has even made moves designed to set the burgeoning industry back.”
The administration’s inaction on even modest cannabis reforms for the past 12 months is “inexcusable,” says Fox, and it is a betrayal of the voters who put Biden in the Oval Office. This disregard for cannabis reform will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the Democratic Party come the 2024 elections, he predicts.
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