Biden unlikely to veto a Senate-backed marijuana bill despite unclear stance

Nearly a week has passed since the US House passed a bill that would pave the way for marijuana to be legalized and decriminalized at the federal level, but there is still a long way to go for approval. However, some experts point out newsweek That if the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Removal Act (MORE) passes the Senate and hits President Joe Biden’s table, he will be given “hard pressure” to veto it.

The bill, which was sponsored by Representative Jerry Nadler of New York, would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act as the law “long-overdue legislation that would reverse decades of failed federal policies based on criminalizing marijuana.”

“It will also take steps to address the enormous toll taken by these policies across the country, especially among communities of color,” Nadler said. Medical marijuana is legal in 38 states and Washington, DC, and adult recreational use is legalized in 18 states and DC. has been legalized in

Some experts believe that if the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Removal Act (MORE) passes the Senate and hits President Joe Biden’s table, he will be given “hard pressure” to veto it. Above, a worker smokes marijuana during the annual NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally in support of the legalization of marijuana for recreational and medical use on May 1, 2021 in New York City.
Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Paul Quirk, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia in Canada, told newsweek That Biden would be “hard-pressed to veto” legislation that supports marijuana use because he can’t afford to lose young voters.

“Legalization is favored by two-thirds of all Americans, an even higher percentage of Democrats, and the vast majority of young people,” he said. “The 18-39-year-old age group is precisely where Biden has lost the most support since his inauguration.”

“Veeting marijuana legalization would make Biden public-official enemy No. 1 for many young voters whose support he desperately needs,” he said.

Marsha Cohen, a law professor at UC Hastings College of Law, also thinks the law will help Biden win back younger voters, even though she doesn’t believe the bill will pass the Senate.

“There may be young people who are least likely to be reactive to pollutants right now because they may not care. [bill] Can ‘talk’ to them,” Cohen added newsweek,

Lisa Jordan, vice president of marketing at cannabis consultancy firm Kana Advisors, echoed Quirk’s remarks, saying newsweek He believes Biden would sign the bill if it reached his desk, due to “growing” public sentiment across the country toward legalizing marijuana. It also said it would improve its approval rating, which has caused the slowdown.

“Signing the bill would be positive for the cannabis industry and serve as a unifying theme across party lines,” Jordan said. “Without a doubt, taking the final step to lift the federal ban on cannabis will result in a significant improvement in their ratings.”

Jordan also noted that if Biden agrees to the legalization of marijuana, the potential challenges “should be limited to the extreme end of those who would find fault with anything supporting Biden or his party.”

However, Biden’s stance on legalizing marijuana remains unclear. On the same day that the bill was passed in the House last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden believes marijuana laws need to be looked at differently.

“As the president said during the campaign, our current marijuana laws are not working. He agrees that we need to rethink our approach, including addressing racial disparities and systemic inequalities in our criminal justice system. broaden research on the effects of marijuana and support the safe use of marijuana for medical purposes,” Saki said.

Addressing marijuana-related issues was among Biden’s stated objectives during his presidential election campaign. In 2019, he tweeted He believes that no one should be jailed for marijuana use and called for decriminalizing recreational marijuana use, legalizing its medical use, and eliminating former convictions.

However, last year five people from Biden’s staff were fired because of past use of marijuana. Psaki said in March 2021 that the White House had updated its policies to ensure that past marijuana use would not disqualify employees from positions in the White House.

“As a result, more people will serve who have not had in the past with the same level of recent drug use. The bottom line is this: Hundreds of people were hired, with only five people who started working in the White House, They are no longer employed as a result of this policy.” she tweeted at that time.

Whether or not Biden agrees to sign the marijuana legalization bill, believes Ryan Vandrey, a professor in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, that could be a “step by the federal government” to regulate the cannabis industry. urgency”. ,

“The lack of federal regulatory oversight is detrimental to public health because the current reality is that the majority of Americans now have legal access to cannabis through state-level legalization initiatives, but the state cannot establish and enforce science-based policy and controls. are poorly equipped to control cannabis, relative to federal regulatory bodies such as the FDA and USDA,” Vandre pointed out. newsweek,

“The lack of uniform standards for manufacturing, processing, testing and labeling products has resulted in repeated instances of poor quality control and confusion among businesses, consumers and health care providers.”

He said the current federal stance toward cannabis has helped maintain “a huge black market for cannabis products” and “created widespread misinformation about both the risks and benefits of cannabis use.”

Vandre also pointed out that Biden and Congress should have a science-based approach when dealing with marijuana regulations.

However, Quirk believes this may not be accomplished because “a handful of Senate Democrats oppose cannabis legalization, so current support looks short of a Senate majority and well short of the sixty votes that would drive the Republican filibuster away.” will be required to do so.”

“Senator Schumer is unlikely to pull all the stops to advance a bill that opposes Biden,” he said.

But, according to Quirk, federal legalization is in place, as most states already legalize cannabis for medical use as the industry continues to grow, and so “it’s hard to see what’s going to be achieved by holding Biden down.” hope to do.”

,[Biden] Has already promised to reduce possession and grant clemency for marijuana offenders. He hasn’t made clear grounds for maintaining prohibition,” Quirk concluded. Instead of coming soon.”

newsweek reached the White House for comment.

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