Vice President Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) to be the vice presidential nominee for the Democratic Party is likely to have a significant impact on cannabis policy and the broader discussion about cannabis in this country. In fact, the impact has already begun. So we thought we would send a quick and brief email to get you up to date.
Steve Fox Strategic Advisor Cannabis Trade Federation writes….
With respect to Sen. Harris’s position on cannabis, she has evolved over time from someone who was “not a proponent” of legalization in 2010 to being the lead Senate sponsor of the MORE Act, which is among the most progressive bills in Congress to deschedule cannabis and enhance social equity. For a full summary of Sen. Harris’s record on cannabis, we suggest this fantastic overviewfrom Marijuana Moment.
While it is difficult, for a wide variety of reasons, to speculate how a Vice President Harris might impact the push for cannabis legalization at the federal level, we can already see that her presence on the ticket has raised the profile of cannabis as an issue. Two notable examples:
At a press conference yesterday, the first question from the media to President Trump about the selection of Senator Harris (click here, starting at 18:40 of the video) referenced that she oversaw 1,900 marijuana convictions as District Attorney in San Francisco yet then allegedly lied about her own marijuana use. The reporter then asked a provocative follow-up question: “Should supporters of marijuana legalization vote for you rather than her because she convicted so many people in the past?” Interestingly, President Trump did not mention marijuana at all in response to either question.
Later, during an interview on Fox Business, Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was asked about the selection of Sen. Harris (click here, starting at 1:00 of the video). The very first issue he raised was her “too tough” past record of putting “people in jail for marijuana, small little amounts of marijuana.”
Will these marijuana-related attacks continue? Will they eventually come from President Trump directly? And how do they jibe with the Trump administration’s recent embrace of congressional Republican talking points, criticizing the inclusion of the SAFE Banking Act in the most recent House coronavirus relief package and mocking the focus on cannabis generally? It’s too early to tell, but we will certainly be monitoring the situation closely and looking for opportunities to influence the discussion.