The U.S. Presidential Election in 2020 seems to have come down to President Trump on one side while Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders battle it out for the Democratic Party nomination. Obviously this makes many of us wonder about various scenarios and what they mean for the future of cannabis law reform.
It’s no secret how important federal legalization is. Joe Biden has never been a fan of legalization and built most of his career being Mr. Tough-On-Crime. He has tried to slide toward a more liberal stance on the issue, but no one really expects him to make any effort at federal legalization. In fact, it would be easy to imagine him vetoing a legalization bill for some small reason, or him forgetting where the bill-signing ceremony was.
Trump is, well…Trump. Unpredictable and prone to emotional responses, Trump has played both sides of the issue his entire presidency and there is little reason to think he won’t continue to do so unless Congress forces his hand.
This brings us to Bernie. Whatever you may think of him, Bernie Sanders has been a vocal proponent of legalization longer than most other federal lawmakers, especially ones who run for President. He’s made no secret about his plan to legalize marijuana on the federal level as quickly as possible.
Does that mean Bernie is our only chance at federal legalization in the next few years? Maybe not our only, but likely our best chance. “The best case scenario is that someone who is committed to federal marijuana legalization is elected to the White House,” Maritza Perez, Director of The Office of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, told The Marijuana Times. “This can have a major impact on Congressional priorities, and can help shift federal resources toward the goal of ending marijuana prohibition at the federal level.”
Congress has a huge part to play in getting legalization done over the next few years, but having a supportive President will certainly go a long way toward putting pressure on members. “Unquestionably, federal legalization will happen in the near future,” Maritza told us. “At DPA, we’re working to ensure that when this happens, it is done correctly, which means any federal legalization effort will have to center [on] communities most impacted by decades of drug prohibition.”
No matter who gets elected to federal office, they are all susceptible to pressure from vocal groups. With all the noise in the political world, it’s more imperative than ever that we get our voices out there. We can’t count on the lawmakers we think are the “best” to get elected. It’s up to us to pressure those who try to control our lives, no matter who they are or what party they declare allegiance to.