Even as the push for full marijuana legalization gains momentum in the U.S., it appears that the country’s top brass – both existing and aspiring political models are still opposed to the project.
Both Trump and Biden opposed to full marijuana legalization
According to the recommendations Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force released last week, it appears that both President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential flag bearer Joe Biden are opposed to marijuana legalization, even as the majority of the American population supports it.
Releasing the recommendations on Wednesday last week, the task force only dwelt on how to fight the climate crisis and implement environmental justice. While it called for marijuana decriminalization at the federal level, it did not endorse the recreational legalization of the substance. Particularly, Sanders has advocated for full cannabis legalization on various fronts, but it appeared the Vermont senator could not convince Biden to follow suit.
This decision was somehow expected, as shown by the remarks of Violet Cavendish, Communications Manager at the Marijuana Policy Project. Speaking to Newsweek, Cavendish said:
The position on cannabis policy put forth by the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force is disappointing but not surprising. Joe Biden has been out of touch with the strong majority of Americans who support legalization.
On the same breath, President Trump in his campaign has remained equally opposed to marijuana legalization. In February this year, his campaign director of strategic communications Marc Lotter implied that Trump’s opposition to legalization is like a parent’s attitude toward a child.
I think the President is looking at this from a standpoint of a parent—a parent of a young person—to make sure we keep our kids away from drugs. They need to be kept illegal. That is the federal policy, Lotter told KLAS-TV, an affiliate of Las Vegas CBS News.
Newsweek contacted the Biden and Trump campaigns but so far, they have not responded to this issue.
Increased support for cannabis legalization
Two different polls conducted by the Pew Research Center and Gallup indicated that cannabis legalization has amassed increased support in recent years. Nearly two-thirds of Americans – including the majority of Republicans, Democrats, and independents – currently support the move.
According to Pew’s latest survey, published in November 2019, 67% of Americans supported legalization with 55% of voters being Republican while 78% being Democratic-allied. Similarly, Gallup’s latest poll data published in October 2019 showed that 66% of Americans supported legalization, with 51 percent of voters being Republicans, 76% Democrats, and 68 percent independents.
The two separate polls also showed that support for marijuana legalization has increased tremendously in the last decade. According to Gallup’s data, only 44% of Americans supported legalization in 2010. Pew’s data also showed that only 41% of Americans were in support of legalization in the same year.
Currently, 33 states in the US have legalized medical marijuana while 11 states have given green light to recreational cannabis.