So far, Biden appears to not be following through on some of his campaign promises after several media outlets reported that he did not include cannabis regulation reform in the transition plan.
Now, we want to give the President-elect the benefit of the doubt and hope that drug reform will be included in his plans for criminal justice reform. Some of the specific measures that were highlighted under Biden’s plan to reform the criminal justice system include a ban on police chokeholds and the creation of a national oversight commission to track law enforcement abuses
Prior to being named President elect, Biden and Harris made voters believe that there would be significant changes to the criminal justice system. Biden’s campaign website includes a section where he promises to “decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions.”
Although there are concerns around the change in language in recent press releases from the Biden campaign, we believe the President elect’s team has bigger issues to deal with. The US is in the middle of a deadly pandemic that has shown no signs of slowing down and we expect the new administration to make controlling the pandemic ahead of cannabis reform.
President-elect Biden has never been a supporter of the cannabis industry which helps explain why pro-cannabis organizations are concerned with his recent change in language. Biden is considered to be one of the main architects of the drug war and has been against cannabis legalization throughout most of his career.
Although there has been a massive shift in attitudes towards cannabis legalization, people are still being arrested for possession of cannabis and this cohort make up a significant portion of cases that come through the country’s criminal court system.
According to data that was released in the Uniform Crime Report from the FBI, 545,602 people were arrested for cannabis in 2019. The report also disclosed that 495,871 people were arrested for violent crimes in 2019 and we find this statistic to be shocking. In 2019, more than 90% of the people who were arrested for cannabis (92%) were arrested for possession and we hope that the Biden administration will follow through on its campaign promises.
The cannabis industry was initially expected to be one of the greatest beneficiaries of a Biden presidency and now the future is not as clear. Over the next year, we expect the Biden administration to prove that it supports the legal cannabis industry and this is a trend that we believe is still intact.
From foreign relations to a huge budget deficit, the Biden administration has its work cut out for them. Although we expect to see cannabis decriminalization legislation passed by the new administration, it is not going to be one of issues that need immediate attention. Once we have the virus under control, we expect to see new cannabis markets to open in states that passed legislation in the November election. We are bullish on the US cannabis industry under Biden’s administration and expect to see his team address the industry when the time is right.