With everything that’s been going on for the past six months, from a global pandemic that’s crippled the economy to the protests against police brutality raging across the country, it’s easy to forget that the November ballot is fast approaching. The ballot may very well be a turning point for the cannabis industry. For starters, the Democratic Party made it clear that if it clinches Congress and the White House this coming November, it will make decriminalizing marijuana one of its top priorities, despite presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s views on the matter.
The presidential nominees for both the Libertarian and Green Parties also support broader drug reform, including legalizing marijuana. During an interview with C-SPAN this month, Libertarian pick Jo Jorgensen said that the biggest problem we have right now isn’t drugs but drug prohibition. “Now, do drugs and alcohol cause problems? Of course, they do. However, they’d be much more manageable if it were legal. What’s the difference between me drinking bourbon in my home and somebody else smoking marijuana in their own home? If there is no victim, there is no crime,” she says.
In a statement released on Twitter, she said that the U.S. prison population jumped from 350,000 to 2.3 million in just 30 years due to ‘Draconian sentence lengths, mandatory minimums, and an increase in the number of drug laws which creates more ‘crimes’.” Ending the failed drug war would be a top priority if elected as it has led to the highest incarceration rate in the world. On day 1, I would pardon ALL nonviolent, victimless offenders in federal prison. If there was no victim, there is no crime.”
During a speech delivered remotely for the Green Party National Convention, Green nominee Howie Hawkins said that drug reform could be a tool to combat mass incarceration. “We’ve got to treat drug abuse as a health problem. You should legalize marijuana and decriminalize the hard drugs like Portugal did. Instead of just throwing people in prison and building the biggest prison industrial system in the world, which Joe Biden had a lot to do with as he wrote the legislative architecture for that as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, we should be treating drug addiction as a health problem, not a criminal problem.”
“One of the central changes to policing is to end the war on drugs. 20% of incarcerated people in the U.S. are locked up due to a drug offense. We need to legalize marijuana, decriminalize other drugs, and make treatment readily available like Portugal did.”
Industry watchers say cannabis sector players like VIVO Cannabis Inc. (TSXV: VIVO) (OTCQX: VVCIF) may not put a lot of stock in what these other presidential nominees say since they don’t command a huge following among voters, and can hardly sway the direction of drug policy at the federal level.
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