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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

As Democrats gain legislative momentum, now’s time for Biden to weigh in on marijuana legalization

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Last week, Marijuana Moment broke the news of the discovery of Melissa Cohen, the daughter-in-law of President Joe Biden.Hop in the cannabis dispensary in Malibu, California. This certainly raises ethical questions about a member of the president’s immediate family who enjoys the convenience of selling legal cannabis while such behavior remains completely illegal in the eyes of the federal government overseen by her father-in-law.

But for those who follow the development of cannabis policy at the federal level, it raises an even more pressing question: Why has President Biden been so silent on the issue of cannabis policy reform when it became a major political priority for the Democratic Party in this legislative session? after every thing , The boss has been candid About the need to bring WNBA star Britney Greiner home to be detained and unfairly imprisoned in Russia. However, he remains silent about the first subsequent attempt at legislation that would affect the tens of thousands of Americans who are currently languishing in US jails and prisons for the same crime.

Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have made passing marijuana reform a major priority. The House Speaker Pelosi’s House twice passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Delisting Act (MORE) that would federally legalize cannabis, and in July leader Schumer introduced the long-awaited Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), soon to be followed by the first ever law . Senate hearings on federal legalization.

While they do not expect MORE or CAOA to become law in 2022, as there is virtually no path to getting the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate, both House and Senate champions on the matter have indicated that negotiations are underway for a bill A more gradual settlement act could pass both houses. The bill, which is referred to as “SAFE Banking Plus” or “universal cannabis,” is currently being negotiated by members of both parties who have spoken openly about the need for reform but differ widely in their approach.

Over the past year and a half, this rift has existed largely among members of the Democratic Party. Moderates and pragmatists such as Representative Ed Perlmutter and Senator Patty Murray argued for passage of the Safe Banking Act, a bill passed by the House five times with bipartisan support, while progressives such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Cory Booker argued that access to banking should wait until reform further Comprehensively doing more to reform communities that have been so negatively affected by the marijuana ban.

As the legislative session draws to a close, the Democratic Party, and the activists and industry interests that follow them, find themselves at a critical juncture trying to piece together a bill with a handful of provisions that could get 60 votes in the Senate. The discussions reportedly included Language in SAFE Banking Act, deletion of people with federal criminal records for cannabis offenses, Small Business Association loans for Social Justice Cannabis Licensors, and possibly revision of Provision 280e of the IRS Tax Act that treats state-licensed cannabis businesses like drug traffickers for the purposes of filing their taxes.

But throughout this process, arguably the most important voice in the Democratic Party, the president himself, has remained largely silent. Sure, his spokesmen reiterated Biden’s campaign stance that he does not support legalization but would instead prefer decriminalization and allow states to set their own policies. But none of this addresses the specific, detailed and more precise proposals currently being negotiated as part of an additional reform package.

Banking and tax reform, erasures, and SBA loans to equity firms fall short of full legalization, but they go well beyond decriminalization. What is the president’s position on these issues? Certainly, he was historically a Senator Biggest supporter of marijuana banBut Biden has also shown a willingness to change with the times, as evidenced by his political development on issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion. Will he sign a bill incorporating all of these provisions and administer both houses of Congress? Would the chief dare to veto something like that It is universally popular Between his party and his base despite his documented opposition to marijuana reform? The answer is that we simply don’t know.

Senator Booker recently indicated that this settlement bill would do the trick Likely to be voted on during the lame duck session Between the midterm elections in November and the new Congress in January. This leaves a little valuable time to get the details right and pass the bill. If Biden refuses and vetoes, there may be no time left to make changes that would satisfy the administration. That President Biden inserts himself into the process now, and makes clear what he supports and what he opposes, could avoid a disastrous scenario in which nothing becomes law before the end of the session.

This is critical, because if the sweeping reform does not pass this year, and Democrats lose one or both houses of Congress as largely expected, a GOP-controlled Congress is unlikely to push any of these measures. This makes it all the more urgent for Biden to chime in now, because under this scenario a president who clearly does not want to spend time on this issue will find himself facing constant pressure and calls for action from his administration. After all, in a scenario in which Congress fails to act on the issue with a new Congress-controlled Republican party unwilling to pass anything that could be considered a victory for Democrats, advocates and members of Congress alike will increase pressure on the Biden administration to take executive and administrative action to address the issue. These issues through the executive branch.

This could include searching for new guidance notes from the Department of Justice to replace the Obama-era Cole memo canceled By then, Trump had appointed Attorney General Jeffrey Beuregaard to the third hearing, directing the IRS to reinterpret Section 280e of the IRS tax code so that it does not apply to state-licensed cannabis businesses, mass presidential pardons, mitigations and demands for those who have been and previously convicted of crimes Cannabis in Federal Court, Directive allowing interstate trade with legal cannabis laws, or Instructions to the Federal Small Business Association to consider making loans for social equality and mother-and-pop cannabis business owners.

If President Biden really doesn’t want this issue to be something that needs to be addressed during his administration, it is in his best interest to come out now and make his position clear about the additional changes he will sign into law before the end of the current session, rather than continuing to leave the discussion entirely to congressional leaders. This would end nearly two years of intra-party fighting, allow Congress to pass a reform bill efficiently, and give the president a bill he can sign on and move on to other issues on which he would prefer to spend his time. And hey, it might add a little joy to the upcoming Biden family reunion.


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