Prior to the 2020 elections, President Joe Biden had campaign using the reformation of drug laws as one of his many fronts. He was moderate on the issue having evolved from his views as a senator in the 1980s and 1990s.
According to Biden, he sees the cannabis issue differently from when he was a senator. He was vocal during the campaign with signals that he understands the racial dynamics around drug enforcement. He was also of the opinion that people should not be spending time in jail for low level cannabis offense. President Biden focused on issues of racial. This includes cannabis policy due to the demonstrated racial biases in cannabis enforcement and adjudication.
There is however a silence in the White House. Even though there’s been some type of changes to the cannabis policy, the issue has not been prioritized in the Biden’s tenure. The black community has always been at the receiving end of force due to the harmful effects of the criminalization and the racial inequities in cannabis law enforcement. A lot of African-Americans are in jail due to this.
President Joe Biden is known to belong to the Silent Generation. These are Americans born between 1925 and 1944 who are mostly opposed to cannabis reform in the American Electorate. Even though there has been an increase in the Silent Generations calls for reform, it remains the least supportive.
President Biden’s stance and slow reaction cannot be said to unconnected to the fact that his son, Hunter, has publicly struggled with the abuse of different substances. This is normal for people who have gone through substance abuse or knows a family member that suffers from the effect. The theory, “gateway effect”, that says that cannabis use opens the way to the abuse of other substances may be another reason. Even though this theory has since been found by researchers to be faulty, it still fuels some of the misgivings about the use of cannabis.
By putting his weight behind the reform of cannabis laws, President Biden would see to the fact that a lot of African-Americans in jail for the possession of small ounces of cannabis get freed. There’s also the ability to tax legal cannabis and set aside portions of revenue generated for enhanced mental health and addiction services.
President Biden’s effort could serve as an olive branch to voters, especially the black community who threw their weight behind him during the elections, who have recently grown skeptical about his willingness or ability to advance their cause.