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Advocates warn Biden is missing opportunity on legalizing marijuana

Cannabis advocates are disappointed with President Biden’s approach to marijuana legalization, arguing that he’s missing an opportunity to engage young voters by not taking more decisive action at the federal level.

Although the Biden administration has taken some steps towards marijuana reform, like issuing federal pardons for simple possession and considering rescheduling marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III, advocates feel these efforts fall short of Biden’s campaign promises. They believe more needs to be done to address the disproportionate impact of marijuana criminalization on minority communities.

Progressive lawmakers are urging the administration to go further by completely descheduling the drug, effectively decriminalizing it federally. Despite strong public support for marijuana legalization, with a Gallup poll showing 70 percent of Americans in favor, there’s still a gap between advocacy efforts and political action.

Polling data indicates widespread support for federal marijuana reform, including rescheduling, highlighting the importance of addressing the issue comprehensively to engage key voter demographics like young people and communities of color. Advocates believe Biden could capitalize on this popularity to appeal to a broad spectrum of voters, potentially influencing the outcome of the 2024 elections.

Despite Biden’s campaign promise to decriminalize cannabis use and expunge prior convictions, advocates feel his actions thus far haven’t fully delivered on those pledges. They emphasize the need for concrete progress, including finalizing marijuana rescheduling by the DEA and ensuring federal pardons apply to state-level convictions.

While marijuana reform may not dominate the upcoming elections, strategists argue it has the potential to break through the noise and resonate with voters, particularly in key battleground states. They believe significant action on marijuana reform from Biden could signal his commitment to modernizing policies and addressing systemic inequalities, potentially swaying voters in crucial states.

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