For decades, anti-drug advocates have warned that peer pressure is a one-way ticket to reefer madness. Now, advocates on Capitol Hill and in the burgeoning cannabis industry hope their increasingly successful legalization campaign can go nationwide with a similar strategy, aimed squarely at pushing President Joe Biden to just say “yes.”
“What we know is that President Biden has extended to Vice President Harris the same measure of respect that he had with President Obama—whenever there’s a decision to be made, the last person in the room with the president is the vice president,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “I would expect that the president would be hearing from Vice President Harris on this, getting her input, understanding why she has been a supporter of legalization, and I think at that point, she would be incredibly important in delivering that message.”
As a senator, Harris was the sponsor of the Senate version of the MORE Act, which would have removed cannabis from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and would have eliminated criminal penalties for growing, selling or possession of it. The act, seen in the pro-cannabis community as a model for sensible legalization, would also have expunged convictions for federal cannabis offenses—and is the exact kind of bill that legalization advocates hope Harris might advocate for within the administration.