Joe Biden continues to sleep on marijuana legalization, and Senate Democrats are waking up to this fact
It’s no secret that President Joe Biden is not an ally to the thousands of pro-marijuana legalization advocacy groups spread across the nation, and Democrats in Congress are starting to wake up to the fact that they do not have the president’s support on this issue.
Last month, six Democrat senators submitted a letter to Biden expressing their frustration with his administration’s refusal to remove marijuana from the Schedule I classification, with little to no response from the White House. In fact, the White House remained eerily silent when Senate Democrats released a marijuana legalization bill earlier this week, seeming to want to capitalize on Brittney Griner’s 9-year sentence for smuggling vape cartridges into Russia.
Biden has a history of being tough on drugs, and it seems to be a record he is willing to hold onto. In 1994, he championed the crime bill that imposed mandatory sentences for marijuana possession. While he has certainly softened on the issue over the past 30 years, he remains silent on whether or not he would sign legalization into law if a bill made its way to his desk.
Decriminalization, on the other hand, is on the Biden agenda. On the campaign trail, he promised to, “decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions, and end all incarceration for drug use alone.” Although he hasn’t made true on his promise, this can largely be explained by resistance from Senate Republicans, who reserve the right to a filibuster if a bill is making its way to the floor for a vote.
President Biden’s stance on marijuana is unpopular amongst his voter base. In 2020, a Gallup Poll showed that 83% of Democrats support legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Popularity continues to skyrocket while the White House refuses to budge on the issue. Though legalization may not be the sole factor that costs Democrats the election, Biden would likely poll more favorably if he would budge on the issue.