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Cannabis Industry’s Fate May Lie in the Hands of the 2020 US Presidential Election

Cathy Nickel

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Cannabis Industry’s Fate May Lie in the Hands of the 2020 US Presidential Election

Only two out of the 25 candidates for the presidency are opposed to cannabis legalization at the federal level.

If the United States chose to legalize marijuana, there would likely be a total of $1.3 billion in net sales per month.

Cannabis has come a long way in the last few years. Over half of the United States presently has some kind of marijuana problem implemented to allow consumers to purchase this product, and almost a dozen of those states have allowed for recreational marijuana. As more Democrats fight for their party’s support for the presidential election, the topic is being discussed constantly, and there’s no doubt that it will be a deciding factor in the election.

Multiple people are presently hoping to secure their spot in the White House for the next four years, but the range of opinions on marijuana is substantial. Most people consider cannabis to be a purely liberal concern, so it should come as no surprise that many Democratic candidates are supportive of legalization. Considering that approximately six in every ten votes are behind the legalization of cannabis, it is definitely a smart move for candidates to have the same stance, allowing them to appeal to voters.

At the moment, President Donald Trump is aggressively opposed to cannabis legalization federally. However, he has yet to take any actions on cannabis legislation, either for the progress or for the prevention of legalization. Trump was recently asked about his thoughts on legalizing cannabis in Colorado, he stated, “I think it’s bad, and I feel strongly about that.”

However, after these comments, Trump made a big move for the industry, signing the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, which made the cultivation and use of hemp and its derivatives legal. One of the derivatives to come from hemp is CBD oil, which essentially means that he is responsible for legalizing CBD, even if the Food and Drug Administration is dragging its feet on regulations for it.

Of the Democratic presidential candidates, there have been many opinions voiced on how legalization should be implemented. While some believe that cannabis should be legal at the federal level, while others are simply in favor of descheduling it, while allowing states to make their own decisions on legalization.

Elizabeth Warren, for example, is strongly in favor of cannabis since 2016, though she previously had not supported the adult-use cannabis bill proposed by her own state. Now, it is clear that she’s warmed up to the idea of legalization, stating,

“No one should go to jail for a joint. But more Americans are arrested for marijuana possession than all violent crimes combined.”

Clearly working to show how serious she is about this newfound stance, Warren signed a letter to Jeff Session with ten other senators in 2017. In 2017, Sessions was the Attorney General and an advocate for keeping cannabis illegal, but Warren chose to take a stance at a time when the Department of Justice suggested that they would be imposing federal enforcement in states where cannabis is already legal.

Warren is clear that she hasn’t smoke marijuana herself, but she can be found as a sponsor and endorser of many bills favoring cannabis reform. She was also one of the two senators that introduced a bill to end federal prohibition for cannabis called the STATES Act.

Despite the stance against cannabis legalization, Trump presently has 11:10 odds of winning his second term, but there is still plenty of time before the election takes place. Warren, Joe Biden, and even Bernie Sanders could easily take the lead soon. Biden is the third-favorite, amongst the public opinion, for the presidency, and he is also against federal cannabis reform, setting himself apart as one of the few exceptions among Democrats that support cannabis legalization. After all, during the War on Drugs, Biden was a big part of enforcing drug-related laws and pushed for additional prison sentences and more funding against cannabis.

Biden stated that cannabis is a “gateway drug” in 2010, using the fear-mongering rhetoric that became so popular during the campaign. However, at that time, Biden saw that he was the only candidate from the Democratic party to still be standing against cannabis, and he subsequently released a proposal for justice reform this year, aiming to decriminalize cannabis, among other changes.

Based on the substantial success of California’s and Colorado’s cannabis markets, it is pretty clear to see the effect that legalization can have. In Colorado, over $1 billion in total revenue is being reported, and the state saw the highest grossing months in April and May that they’ve ever had. From cannabis alone each month, the state saw about $24 million in total revenue. Considering that Colorado has about 5.7 million people as citizens, analysts predict that the market of the entire United States could net $1.3 billion on a monthly basis.

Out of the 25 individuals that have a chance of becoming president right now, there are only two that have pitted themselves against federal legalization – Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Right now, even though cannabis has been a continued discussion, it is unclear if any of the candidates will make reform a big part of their campaign, and it will probably remain unclear until the primaries.

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