A Biden Harris win on November 3, 2020 could bring about the legalization of marijuana at the federal level.  

As California’s junior senator, Harris has witnessed first hand the win win situation surrounding marijuana legalization.  Not only does legalization of marijuana create jobs through the implementation of a new legal cannabis industry, but also marijuana taxation has become a huge source of income for the government.  California earned over a billion dollars in revenue within 2 years of legalizing marijuana.

During this month’s Vice Presidential debate Harris stated, “We will decriminalize the use of marijuana, and expunge all marijuana use convictions and incarcerations for drug use alone.” 

Harris is the primary sponsor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) act in the Senate.  Having come up the ranks as a prosecutor, and California’s Attorney General, Harris has first hand knowledge of the vast numbers of marijuana convictions in her home state.  Harris’ legalization proposal would retroactively expunge the records of all marijuana convictions of thousands of  Americans.

Legalization of marijuana at the federal level could potentially open up marijuana e-commerce stores and online sales of marijuana across state lines throughout the United States.  The legalization would not only create a physical brick and mortar industry but also an online industry.  Imagine buying weed on Amazon, or having Amazon take care care of your cannabis fulfillment.  The possibilities are fun to ponder.

What legalization at the federal level would look like

Although specific details are unknown and would not come to fruition without a Biden Harris win and an actual federal bill, the Drug Policy Alliance, a national drug reform group,  has published the Drug Policy Reform Act, a model for federal decriminalization of drugs, with 20 specific components. The 20 components are as follows:

  1. Shift regulatory agency from the DEA to the National Institute of Health (NIH.)
  2. The NIH would determine legal, personal use quantities
  3. Eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana possession
  4. Eliminate federal drug apparatus or defund the DEA in terms of marijuana
  5. Prohibit funding to states for enforcement
  6. Prohibit the distribution of military equipment to law enforcement agencies for enforcement.
  7. Removal of added penalties for drug charges and  priorable drug offenses
  8. Prohibit surveillance technologies
  9. Prohibit no knock warrants
  10. Expunge criminal records of past convictions
  11. Decarceration of inmates currently serving sentences for marijuana offenses
  12. Repeal bans of federal benefits for individuals with marijuana convictions
  13. Eliminate marijuana from drug testing for federal employees and federal probation
  14. Prohibit employment discrimination
  15. Protect voting rights
  16. Repeal civil asset forfeiture
  17. Eliminate immigration and removal policies for marijuana offenses
  18. Repeal land use prohibitions 
  19. Reinvest funding into addiction support services
  20. Provide evidence based marijuana education

Despite most polls predicting a Biden victory, The Vice President still needs to beat Trump.  And much like the 2016 election, the democrat should carry the popular vote but will have to win in key battleground states in order to reach 270 electoral votes, and Trump has experience coming from behind and securing victory.

Perhaps federal legalization of marijuana is a mere pipe dream but could possibly be right beyond the horizon.  Remember to vote on November 3, 2020 and have your voice heard.

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