Senator Harris Cannabis Support and Promises
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has chosen Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate.
What does this mean for cannabis legalization and where does Senator Harris stand on the issue?
Well, despite cannabis reform being a major component of Sen. Harris’ criminal justice platform during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, her most significant contribution to the legalization effort was her support of the MORE Act.
In fact, she is the chief Senate sponsor of this piece of comprehensive legislation, approved by the House Judiciary Committee last November. The MORE Act aims to deschedule cannabis and allow federal courts to expunge prior convictions for cannabis offenders, among other provisions.
Apart from this bill, Sen. Harris has also co-sponsored the SAFE Banking Act, which protects banks from federal prosecution for doing business with cannabis companies.
In 2018, the Senator signed a letter calling on the Justice Department to stop blocking research of medical cannabis. In April 2020, she signed another letter, this time to the Senate, requesting changes to the coronavirus relief program that would allow cannabis companies the same access to funds as other industries.
Her other efforts regarding cannabis reform include an end to mass incarceration and bringing “justice to people of color harmed by failed drug policies,” which Ms. Harris believes can be accomplished by cannabis legalization.
It remains to be seen how her policies shape up now that she’s joined Biden’s campaign.
So far, Biden’s decriminalization plan has been unimpressive, to say the least. The presumptive presidential nominee has set the limit at decriminalizing possession, expunging past convictions, legalizing medical use, and allowing states to establish their own cannabis policies.
Sen. Harris stated in July that she will not push Biden on the issue of cannabis legalization.