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Biden Finally Ready To Reclassify Marijuana As Something Legally Different From Heroin

I put myself through college in the 1960s selling marijuana. I was arrested once, searched by bungling police clowns several times and dragged before a grand jury to testify once— only to hear the district attorney, a conservative Democrat, denounce me as Satan when I admitted I was stoned while I was testifying. I’ve been waiting for legalization since then, even though I lost interest entirely and stopped using marijuana in 1970. So I was happy this week when the Biden Administration, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), seemed ready to take another bureaucratic step towards legalization by reclassifying pot as a Schedule III drug from a Schedule I drug. A Schedule I drug is considered highly dangerous, addictive, without medical use, long out of date for marijuana, even in Squaresville, USA. 

If marijuana is downgraded to a Schedule III drug it will be on par with Marjorie Traitor Greene’s personal favorite: anabolic steroids, Lindsey Graham’s testosterone and Matt Gaetz’s ketamine. Wondering how your favorite drugs are classified? Here. By the way, marijuana has already been decriminalized in half the states:

  • Alaska 

  • New York 

  • New Jersey 

  • Connecticut 

  • Maine 

  • Minnesota 

  • New Mexico 

  • Rhode Island 

  • Massachusetts

  • Delaware 

  • California  

  • Illinois 

  • Maryland 

  • Nevada 

  • Ohio 

  • Vermont 

  • Colorado 

  • District of Columbia 

  • Missouri 

  • Oregon 

  • Virginia 

  • Hawaii 

  • Nebraska 

  • Mississippi 

  • Louisiana

  • North Carolina

Marijuana will be on the ballot in Florida, Idaho, South Dakota and Nebraska this year. Republicans are fighting any kind of decriminalization every step of the way, even overturning decisions by voters when they can get away with it. Keep in mind that as a U.S. Senator, Biden was aggressively anti-marijuana, having played a key role in the passage of both the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act and the 1994 Crime Bill, both of which included provisions aimed at combating marijuana use and being the means to have unjustly incarcerating hundreds of thousands of people. As recently as 2010 he told an interviewer on ABC-TV that he opposed legalization: “I still believe it's a gateway drug. I've spent a lot of my life as chairman of the Judiciary Committee dealing with this. I think it would be a mistake to legalize.” And he was still harping on the gateway drug bullshit in 2019 at a Las Vegas town hall: “The truth of the matter is, there's not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug.”

Yesterday, a quartet of Washington Post writers, reported that Democrats see the steps the Biden Administration is taking on marijuana as something that will help them in November. “President Biden and Vice President Harris,” they wrote, “each tweeted at 4:20 p.m. on April 20 of this year that they supported reducing criminal penalties for pot users.” Gateway drug no more? At 81? The Post sees it as part of an electoral “strategy— along with issues such as student loan relief and climate policy— to unlock votes this fall. When Biden’s White House social media account blasted out highlights from his 2024 State of the Union address, the Twitter post quoting his promise to not jail marijuana users got more likes than ones on gun safety, the climate crisis and billionaire taxes.”

The proposed change also has the potential to set up a contrast with Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, who has shown little interest in engaging with federal marijuana policy while previously saying he supports medical marijuana and states’ ability to set their own laws. GOP voters remain one of the only demographic groups in the nation who are still sharply split on full legalization.
A 2023 Gallup poll found that 70 percent of the country supported recreational legalization, but that number fell to 55 percent among Republicans and 52 percent among conservatives. The influential House Republican Policy Committee released a briefing in February that declared that “there is nothing ‘recreational’ about the use of marijuana,” while arguing that the drug was associated with violent crime and declines in worker productivity… During Trump’s term in office, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reestablished legal guidance that allowed federal prosecutors to pursue marijuana crimes in states where the drug is legal.
…The move would not legalize marijuana under federal law, but it would allow marijuana businesses to deduct business expenses for taxes and could lead to relaxing other cannabis-related rules for government employment, federal housing and visas.
…In presidential swing states such as Arizona, Nevada and Michigan, where recreational marijuana is already legal, the loosening of federal restrictions could boost Biden by helping a fledgling cannabis industry that has struggled to expand and turn profits. Thirty-eight states and D.C. have legalized medical marijuana programs, and 24 have approved recreational marijuana.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), one of the biggest champions for relaxing marijuana laws in Congress, said rescheduling the drug could only help Biden in his reelection. He credited a marijuana legalization ballot measure in Arizona in 2020 for attracting enough voters to propel Biden to a narrow victory. He also noted Sens. John Fetterman (D-PA and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) backed marijuana legalization during their successful campaigns in swing states.
“As I have pointed out to people on (Biden’s) campaign team and others in the political establishment, nobody has ever been punished for advocating cannabis reform,” he said. “A majority of Republicans now support full legalization. This is where America is, not where it’s going.”
Cannabis business operators say reclassifying marijuana would drastically reduce their tax burden, allowing them to expand their companies and hire more workers, feeding into classic campaign messaging on economic development and job creation.
“It’s a massive business benefit to the company and industry,” said Luke Flood, a regional executive for Curaleaf, which has a presence in 17 states, including operating 16 dispensaries in Arizona and six in Nevada. The company says that if it had the ability to deduct business expenses this year, it would save roughly $150 million in taxes.
Lilach Mazor Power, president of the Arizona Dispensaries Association, said the move could appeal to business-minded voters. Legal cannabis supports nearly 21,000 jobs in Arizona, according to the most recent report by cannabis employment firm Vangst.
“It will be a boost in our confidence that Biden is supporting businesses and personal decisions,” she said, before adding that she had not yet decided who she will vote for in the fall. “People that live here have seen the sky did not fall when we legalized.”
Florida is the only state so far to approve a recreational marijuana legalization ballot measure this year. New Hampshire lawmakers are weighing whether to expand from medical to recreational legalization, but they disagree over Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s proposal to set up a state-run monopoly.
…“Marijuana is not abortion as an issue, it’s not education,” said Michael Bronstein, a Democratic strategist in Pennsylvania who has advocated for marijuana legalization and co-founded a cannabis trade organization. “But it is something that indicates to voters that people who are for it are on their side, and I think the Biden administration and President Biden did well here and will get credit.”

Open Secrets has reported that “Companies in the marijuana industry include cultivators, dispensaries, wholesalers and distributors of cannabis-related products… Of the contributions that went to candidates and party committees, 64 percent of the money went to Republicans, a significant change from the 2016 election cycle when 42 percent went to Republicans. In its short lifetime, the industry has flipped flopped between parties, though in 2014, a whopping 97 percent of donations went to Democrats. The top contributor in this interest group in the 2018 election cycle was the National Cannabis Industry Association, a national association of businesses and cannabis professionals founded in 2010. Individuals and PACs associated with NCIA donated almost $110,000 to candidates, PACs and parties.”

The industry has contributed just over $60,000 to Biden’s campaigns. And, historically, the biggest recipient of marijuana money in Congress has been David Joyce (R-OH), about $74,000. Another dozen members have gotten $30,000 of more from the marijuana industry:

  • Matt Gaetz (R-FL)- $52,100

  • Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)- $51,600

  • Rand Paul (R-KY)- $41,700

  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)- $39,262

  • Barbara Lee (D-CA)- $38,407

  • Ron Wyden (D-OR)- $36,700

  • Chuck Schumer (D-NY)- $34,100

  • John Hickenlooper (D-CO)- $32,579

  • Cory Booker (D-NJ)- $32,442

  • Nancy Mace (R-SC)- $32,212

  • Alex Padilla (D-CA)- $31,900

  • Jon Tester (D-MT)- $30,326


1 Comment

May 04

just like obamanation, prior to the party's banking whore losing, with nothing positive to talk about. He issued a series of relatively progressive EOs (that his party would never have made into law... and der pumpkinfuhrer immediately rescinded) to be fresh in voters' "minds". obamanation was trying to overcome his neoliberal enthusiasm for his latest xxFTA, that failed because it was election time. biden is trying to overcome his enthusiasm for stacks of palestinian corpses. Didn't work in 2016.

And biden is a worse candidate than $hillbillary.

so... why did it take him so long? Answer: it isn't important to him, but there is an election coming up...

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