The U.S presidential elections are coming up within a week and tension between the candidates is at an all time high. Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump have strong footings in some key states and are striving hard to gain maximum voter support.
In the midst of this tug of war between the two competitors, the issue of marijuana legalization has come into the spotlight once again. Advocates and proponents of its decriminalization are equally focused on the results of the elections because 2020 is going to be THE YEAR that will decide the fate of the cannabis industry in the United States.
Since presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump seem to have slightly different bearings on marijuana legalization, the future of cannabis research, funding and development is highly dependent upon which candidate assumes office in the White House in 2020.
Importance of Cannabis Research
Cannabis research has suffered a great deal of neglect due to its classification as a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level. Not only does this classification negate its medicinal benefits, but also over magnifies its potential dangers.
Advocates of marijuana legalization have struggled long to get the drug its due recognition. As a result of these endeavors, medicinal use of marijuana is now legal in 33 states while 11 states allow its recreational use.
Although the industry has come a long way since its initial standing, there is a lot that still needs to be done. It is still a Schedule 1 drug federally, leading to a lot of mind boggling confusion relating to its use in different states.
Furthermore, this classification has restrained funding to carry out relevant researches on the plant. Most of what is known about the plant today is relatively recent, making it less credible for the medical world. Despite of agreeing with its therapeutic benefits, physicians refrain from prescribing it to their patients. This is due to enough quantitative data to back their beliefs.
Dr. Jordan Zager, PhD in biochemistry wrote an article highlighting the difficulties he faced during cannabis research. He says, “…as per university policy, we were unable to touch the plant during any of our research. We could not study the physical cannabis plant, extracts or any other substantive physical properties from the plant on campus or as a representative of the university. Instead we studied cannabis DNA processed through a third-party. Funding for the research came from private donors who were required to be unassociated with the cannabis industry.”
His ordeal is a glimpse of the sufferings of a majority of cannabis researchers. The complications have already wasted 80 years of precious study time on the drug.
Which presidential nominee will likely support marijuana industry?
As mentioned earlier, these elections are very important for the future of marijuana industry in the US.
Out of the two candidates, Joe Biden certainly seems to be more conducive for the marijuana industry. Although he is still against a full-scale federal legalization, his drug policy reforms are valuable. Expungement of past non-violent marijuana offences, decriminalization of the drug and reducing extremity of punishments are some of his reforms. In addition, his running mate Kamala Harris has come a long way her self in changing views on drug policies. MORE Act is probably her biggest move in that direction.
When it comes to Donald Trump however, his stance seems a little more than confusing. Although he made claimed to support legalization during election campaigns, his actions proved otherwise. His administration has made a lot of hostile attacks on the industry.
He revoked President Obama’s marijuana policies and made entry of immigrants who used marijuana illegal in the country. In addition, his administration has supported a full-scale federal prohibition of cannabis.
Looking at these evidences, Joe Biden’s administration can be seen as more favorable for the marijuana industry.
Legalization efforts in different states
The case for legalizing cannabis has been put on the ballots of at least five more states for voter’s opinion in the 2020 elections. Residents of South Dakota, Arizona, New Jersey, Mississippi and Montana are going to vote on their respective initiatives. The outcomes of their verdict is going to dictate the future of marijuana industry therein.
The outcomes of these votes is going to force a federal policy reform towards the marijuana industry. This going to bring in tax revenues for the government and sales earning for businesses. In addition to this, this will set the path straight for social justice in the country.
Racially motivated arrests and over zealous implementation of criminal laws surrounding marijuana have already done enough damage. Now is the time to put an end to it through the power that democracy gives the people – VOTE.