The Mike Pence-Kamala Harris vice-presidential debate didn’t have the same fireworks as the Trump-Biden debate, but there was plenty of interruptions, dodging of questions, and an iconic fly that took over the internet. Also, the best federal cannabis policy ever proposed by a presidential ticket was mentioned. While the position doesn’t go far enough, it was big step in the right direction and was a historic development for the cannabis community, when Kamala Harris made the first mention of cannabis during the two debates that have been held thus far, as Reason reported:
“We will decriminalize marijuana and we will expunge the records of those who have been convicted of marijuana,” she said.
The position is the strongest any major-party candidate for president or vice president has taken to date on the issue in such a prominent venue.
Though former Vice President Biden has historically resisted calls to ease up on drug enforcement, he seems to have turned on the issue this election cycle, telling supporters in May 2019 that “nobody should be in jail for smoking marijuana.” Most recently, Harris reiterated the position in a virtual town hall on September 14, assuring viewers that a Biden-Harris administration would “end incarceration for drug use alone.” Campaign aide Symone Sanders said the same in an August 29 interview on MSNBC.
While it is understandably difficult to trust virtually any politician, especially those that made their careers arresting and jailing people for cannabis, there is reason to be optimistic this time around. For starters, politicians, regardless of their past positions, want to win and a strong majority of voters now support ending federal prohibition. Further, Kamala Harris is a sponsor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) that will ultimately legalize cannabis nationwide. Regardless of where you stand on the better presidential ticket, it is clear that the cannabis community has made serious progress on the national stage.