Cannabis industry members, as well as growers considering cannabis production, potentially stand to benefit from former Vice President and presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate for the 2020 election.
According to an article by Kyle Jaeger on MarijuanaMoment.com, Harris has evolved significantly on cannabis policy over her career. Though she coauthored an official voter guide argument opposing a California cannabis legalization measure as a prosecutor in 2010, she went on to sponsor legislation to federally deschedule marijuana in 2019.
It remains to be seen whether she will push Biden in the same direction, as the former VP has maintained opposition to ending marijuana prohibition despite supermajority support among Democrats.
While Harris, a former Attorney General of California, made cannabis reform a major component of her criminal justice platform when she unsuccessfully ran in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, she’s been less vocal about the issue since dropping out in December 2019.
Convincing Biden to come around seems like a steep task in any case, Jaeger writes.
“Some advocates suspect that the Democratic National Committee’s platform committee voted against an amendment to add legalization as a 2020 party plank specifically because it’s at odds with the presumptive nominee’s agenda. Biden has drawn the line at decriminalizing marijuana possession, expunging past convictions, modest federal rescheduling, medical cannabis legalization, and letting states set their own policies.”
But it remains the case, Jaeger writes, that Harris is the chief Senate sponsor of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, a comprehensive piece of legalization legislation that includes various social equity and restorative justice provisions. Advocates will be watching to see if she continues to advocate for the reform move as she’s on-boarded to the Biden campaign.
How do you think adding Kamala Harris to the ticket might affect the future of cannabis legalization. You can weigh in at Greenhouse Grower Community.
Forecasting the Kamala Harris Effect on Cannabis