As November approaches the possibility of watching Joe Biden steal the throne from Donald Trump seems more and more distant. Kanye West just insinuated to Forbes that he doesn’t care if his announcement to run for president wrecks the democratic vote and ensures a Trump victory. “I’m not denying it,” he told reporters. “I just told you. To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy.”
Even more damaging was the recent spectacle of the so-called “unity task forces” made up of panelists chosen by both Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders—meant to build bridges between progressives and establishment Democrats—to provide Biden with recommendations on policy. The whole debacle ended with some sore throats, sorer egos and a 110-page report.
Among a number of contentious points (like Biden’s repeated support of qualified immunity for police officers) was the argument over legalizing adult possession and consumption of cannabis. Sanders’ team reportedly advised Biden to support the legalization of marijuana. But the team went another way.
Instead of legalization, the task force recommended decriminalizing and rescheduling cannabis along with expunging criminal convictions for the drug. The report also encouraged the adoption of “drug courts” in place of criminal courts and said that substance abuse disorders are diseases, not crimes.
The task force also recommended that medical cannabis be legalized nationally while leaving recreational laws up to individual states—a fairly centrist proposal.
Many might find this to be a great improvement on current federal regulations regarding marijuana, but the truth is it just highlights Biden’s fundamental disdain for cannabis users. How so? Because for the first time in America, the one thing that the entire voting spectrum can agree on is cannabis legalization. If Biden really wanted to win, he’d jump at the chance to support the one issue that would even bring him some Libertarian and Republican votes.
So why wouldn’t he? Is he so dead set against legalization that he just can’t bring himself to bite the bullet? You’d expect him to be desperate for anything that would give him a leg up, considering how the Democratic vote has become so fractured in recent years. Also: Kanye.
But the bumbling oaf absolutely hates weed—always has. He only started bending slightly on the subject in recent months—probably after one of his campaign advisors whispered in his ear that potheads are often one-issue voters.
After all, this is the man who introduced the Comprehensive Narcotics Control Act of 1986, which called for “more effective criminal penalties” for drug offenders—right smack dab in the middle of the crack epidemic, which, as we all remember, imprisoned countless people of color. It would also have given the Department of Justice the authority to seize assets from suspected drug offenders and given the Department of Defense funding to militarize the Drug War.
Biden also introduced the National Drug Control Strategy Act in 1990, which included highly suspicious language when considered alongside the “drug courts” mentioned in the more recent report. The bill would have established “military-style boot camp prisons” that could serve as an alternative sentencing option for drug offenders.
I’d guess that if Biden had gotten his way 30 years ago, we’d be living in a very different America right now, and probably wouldn’t even be having this discussion. We can all dream, Joe.
A bipartisan coalition of state treasurers—including New Mexico’s Tim Eichenberg—are calling upon lawmakers to include protections for cannabis banking in the next COVID-19 relief bill.
In a letter released last week, the group, headed by Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read, wrote that the pandemic has highlighted the need for comprehensive legislation that allows banks and credit unions to legally do business with cannabis companies.
“This provision would not only address new safety issues created by the COVID-19 crisis,” the treasurers wrote, “but also those caused by the existing conflict between federal and state cannabis laws.” They went on to say that, “The 28,000 cannabis-related legitimate businesses and their 243,700 employees, who already faced significant burdens before the pandemic, are now confronting dangerous new obstacles … To keep workers, patients and consumers safe, it is essential that we reduce the use of cash by creating access to financial services for these state-licensed businesses.”
The federal Food and Drug Administration submitted a report to Congress last week that found many CBD products sold over-the-counter across the country have been mislabeled.
According to the report, numerous inconsistencies were found between listed cannabinoid concentrations and what was actually in the products. The report also found negligible evidence that dangerous metals and minerals had been added to the products.
“FDA believes that understanding the characteristics of marketed CBD products is critical to making informed decisions about how best to protect public health in the current marketplace,” the report states.