As the world -and half of the US- are celebrating Biden’s election, a crucial question arises: what about cannabis?
Here’s some answers… and a whole lotta questions.
Just say no!
Joe Biden is a fierce legalization opponent and on a mission to give a hard time to any weed enthousiast.
It’s 1986, and Biden (who works at the time under Reagan’s Republican administration) is a key figure in an all-out “War on Drugs”, carried by the (in)famous “Just Say No”.
In 1990, he was one of the main architects of an ultra-coercive series of measures, where the common foot stoner would -roughly- be sentenced to the same jail time than a street crack dealer.
2010. The times they are A’changin‘ and Biden softens his speech. “There is a difference between sending someone to jail for a few ounces [of weed] and legalizing it. The punishment should fit the crime. Yet I still believe think legalization is wrong. I still believe [cannabis] is a getaway drug”
A decade later, Barack Obama’s former vice president views on cannabis have changed again. “I wasn’t always right. I know we haven’t always done it right [with regards to incarceration for marijuana offenses]; but I always tried, “admits Biden in 2019 interview with ABC.
“No one should be in jail for smoking marijuana,” concluded the then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Biden’s current position, if it does not follow that of his fellow citizens (66% of Americans are for a nationwide legalisation ), has at least one perk: that of paving the way for reform of the banking system.
Between technical problems and a certain mistrust of the green gold industry, most players in the legal cannabis business indeed have the greatest difficulty in accessing basic banking services. Whether getting a loan or simply opening a corporate current account, banks and credit institutions prefer to play it safe and avoid any criminal and / or financial sanctions that’d be imposed on them. And although the law of the states that have legalised is on the side of ganja-entrepreneurs, mistrust and fear of bad publicity prevents them from gaining access to any major financial institutions.
Decriminalization, the bogus idea?
Biden’s decriminalization plan, beyond being a cautious compromise between prohibition and legalization, could quickly turn into a logistical nightmare for the cannabis industry.
By simply decriminalizing weed, Joe Biden is legally placing its trade under the control of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
And that’s no good news: by seizing the certifications and approvals of the cannabis business, the FDA would also be responsible for overseeing the manufacturing, packaging and distribution of all cannabis related products, thus imposing strict requirements on producers, especially when it comes to the levels of THC, CBD and CBN, the three potent molecules.
And if it could look like a relaxation of the legislation, Biden’s decriminalization is quite far away from the cannabis paradise suggested by the former candidate Bernie Sanders, who was eager to legalize all over the country once elected.
If Biden has by the past demonstrated his ability to evolve, let’s hope Sleepy Joe won’t take a nap on the matter once in the White House.