Biden-Sanders task force comes short of calling to legalize marijuana

click to enlarge Biden-Sanders task force comes short of calling to legalize marijuana

The camps of presumed 2020 Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden and former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders have come together to hammer out joint policy recommendations to unite the moderate and progressive wings of the party — but marijuana was one issue they could not agree on.

Sanders vowed to legalize marijuana via executive order on his first day in office. Biden, however, has been reluctant to call for legalizing pot.

As a compromise, the "Unity Task Force" instead calls for rescheduling the drug and decriminalizing its use, legalizing it at the federal level only for medical use.

The difference is this: Decriminalization would only relax penalties for marijuana use and possession. Full legalization would open the doors for marijuana to be regulated and taxed on the federal level.

The task force also calls for the federal government leaving it up to individual states to decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and advises the Justice Department not to investigate marijuana-related conduct that is legal on a state level.

Additionally, it encourages states to use taxes raised from legal marijuana to help those harmed by the War on Drugs, which have been disproportionately people of color.

You can read more about the Unity Task Force's marijuana proposals here.

Sanders tweeted that he supports the proposals, but admitted it fell short of what he wanted.

"Though the end result isn’t what I or my supporters would've written alone, the task forces have created a good policy blueprint that will move this country in a much-needed progressive direction and substantially improve the lives of working families throughout our country,” he tweeted.

The compromise still puts the Democratic Party out of step with voters when it comes to weed. The majority of U.S. voters support marijuana legalization.

President Donald Trump has been largely silent on the issue of marijuana, though he has indicated. Libertarian Party nominee Jo Jorgensen and presumed Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins both support marijuana legalization, but Hawkins has made the issue more of a priority.

The Democratic Party will draft its policy platform at its convention next month.

It's a new era for marijuana in Michigan. Sign up for our weekly weed newsletter, delivered every Tuesday at 4:20 p.m.

About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
Scroll to read more Marijuana News articles
Join the Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.