Bernie vows to legalize cannabis via executive order, while Biden prefers a more wait-and-see decriminalization approach that limits the potential for science and research.
Warren is a co-sponsor of The STATES Act, which protects banks and other businesses from federal interference when transacting in the cannabis trade. Mayor Pete hits Vegas dispensaries on the campaign trail while advocating for cannabis legalization, as well as the decriminalization of all drugs, in his Douglass Plan.
Klobuchar, true to her reputation as a beacon of the mainstream, recently evolved to support legalization. Yang is all in on mushrooms!
Will any of this matter come Monday when Iowans declare their favorites for the Democratic Primary?
Probably not, said a cross-section of politicos surveyed on the subject.
While there are growing industry and citizenry constituencies that are increasingly enthusiastic about the plant, campaign strategists are more focused on healthcare, jobs and foreign policy.
The distinction between cautious approaches like Biden’s stance on decriminalization (shared by Bloomberg) and commercialized legalization supported by the remainder of the field likely won’t factor into who becomes the democratic nominee.
And whoever that is will likely face an incumbent who retains the right to crack down on any commercial cannabis activity, but is proactive enough to switch sides and maybe even put his thumb on the scale if it helps him retain power.
A preoccupied and divided Capitol Hill is not expected to make much progress on any Act or initiative that normalizes an industry that is growing in most U.S. states.
Although legislation like The SAFE Act, which provides safe harbor for banks doing business with cannabis companies, passed last year with bi-partisan support in the House of Representatives, it stalled in the senate.
So without any kind of green light from Washington this year, expect to see Illinois entrepreneurs continue to transport mountains of cash in armored vehicles that purchased whatever amount of plant was grown within state lines over the last few months.
New York is probably next in line to legalize cannabis. If it can make it there…
At some point, this reporter believes this election season, commercial cannabis industry normalization will bubble up from enough states that the federal government will be forced to confront a moment of clarity, and evolve beyond these hazy days.