President Joe Biden’s stance on marijuana legalization “has not changed,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday.
When asked if the President would support a push from Democratic senators to end federal cannabis prohibition, Psaki said Biden “believes in decriminalizing the use of marijuana,” but stopped the conversation from moving into the legalization aspect.
A topic frequently brought up during the campaign, Biden has mulled over the idea of federally reclassify marijuana along with decriminalizing possession, legalizing medical cannabis, expunging prior marijuana records and letting states set their own policies.
But supporters of full-scale marijuana legalization see the situation with the President a bit differently.
“For those hoping Biden will finally bring about an end to our nation’s nearly 85-year disastrous war on cannabis that has resulted in so much pain, suffering and loss of liberty and livelihood for hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-abiding Americans, it’s time to reckon with the fact that Joe Biden is not your savior and he is not your friend, according to Forbes writer Kris Krane.
As for Vice President Kamala Harris, the one-time champion for legalization while serving in the U.S. Senate is now reluctant to fight for a full reform. She campaigned on the promise to fix the broken cycle of cannabis policies and criminal justice reform, but now isn’t likely to do much about the two issues. A Harris spokesperson recently told Bloomberg News that the Vice President’s “positions are now the same as Biden’s.”
North Carolina officials including Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General John Stein have expressed their interest to decriminalize marijuana. A task force on Racial Equity in Criminal Justice recommended that marijuana be decriminalized in the state last November, but have to act on the findings.
“You cannot talk about improving racial equity in our criminal justice system without talking about marijuana,” said Stein. “White and Black North Carolinians use marijuana at similar rates, yet Black people are disproportionately arrested and sentenced. Additionally, it is time for North Carolina to start having real conversations about a safe, measured, public health approach to potentially legalizing marijuana.”
Psaki didn’t say if Biden has a plan for decriminalization, only that he would support any action Congress would take.