Cannabis recommendations from Biden-Sanders aim to reschedule cannabis federally


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Nationwide medical cannabis legalization and state’s choice recreational cannabis laws could be enacted across the U.S., if a joint Joe Biden-Bernie Sanders task force gains approval from Democratic lawmakers.

The task force that was developed as a collaboration between electoral candidate Biden and democratic socialist Sanders recently submitted recommendations to the Democratic National Committee’s Platform that, if accepted, would reschedule cannabis on a federal basis. Politico reporters have confirmed that the recommendations were submitted ahead of next month’s Democratic National Convention.

“Decriminalize [cannabis] use and legalize [cannabis] for medical purposes at the federal level. Allow states to make their own decisions about legalizing recreational use. Automatically expunge all past [cannabis] convictions for use and possession,” reads an excerpt from the July 8 document, which does not recommend full cannabis legalization. 

Overview of cannabis recommendations from Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force

It was during the month of May that Biden and Sanders teamed up to form the Unity Task Force; after Sanders abandoned the presidential campaign and decided to endorse President Donald Trump’s opponent. Co-chairs and members of the Task Force were chosen by each politician.

Listed below are a few of the Unity Task Force’s cannabis recommendations:

  • “Democrats will decriminalize [cannabis] use and reschedule it through executive action on the federal level.”
  • “We will support legalization of medical [cannabis] (federally), and believe states should be able to make their own decisions about recreational use.”
  • “The Justice Department should not launch federal prosecutions of conduct that is legal at the state level.”

“Lift budget rider blocking D.C. from taxing and regulating legal [cannabis] and removing [cannabis] use from the list of deportable offenses. Encourage states to invest tax revenue from legal [cannabis] industries to repair damage to Black and brown communities hit hardest by incarceration,” continues the 110-page document, which must now be reviewed by Biden before the convention kicks off on August 17.

Some other elements of the Task Force recommendations include a government-run insurance option – dependent on income – for all Americans, as well as a federal standard for police departments’ use of force and a $1.7 trillion investment to accomplish net-zero emissions before the year 2050.

Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force doesn’t want full cannabis legalization

In summary, Americans who intend on voting for Biden to become the next president of the United States may want to think twice if they expected cannabis legalization to be on his agenda. Biden may have not said specifically that he would be pushing for U.S. cannabis reform, the 77-year-old has indicated that he is not opposed to the legal weed industry. 

“I think it is at the point where it has to be, basically, legalized,” he told reporters in June. With that being said, many voters have maintained hope that the Task Force would recommend the former Vice President to support the industry. Unfortunately for those people, it’s not going to happen.

Trump, on the other hand, said in 2018 that he is “really” supportive of legislation. During the same year that he announced his support, the “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act” was introduced. Although this bill which would grant states the opportunity to set their own cannabis laws without worrying about federal interference would not federally deschedule or legalize cannabis, it indicates that Trump could be just as likely as Biden to go down the path of cannabis reform in the future.