This month, one thing uncommon occurred: Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer took a stand towards President Joe Biden.
The New York Democrat, sometimes a robust Biden ally, has remodeled into one of many Senate’s greatest advocates for marijuana legalization, which Biden continues to oppose. However Schumer stated he’ll transfer ahead together with his legalization invoice anyway.
“I need to make my arguments to him, as many different advocates will,” Schumer said. “However sooner or later we’re going to maneuver ahead, interval.”
Schumer is probably going anxious, at the least partially, a few main problem from the left sooner or later — one thing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has openly discussed.
However there’s an even bigger concern right here for Biden. More and more, the president is out of step with not simply his get together however the nation and even perhaps most Republicans on marijuana legalization.
Marijuana legalization is extraordinarily in style. Gallup and the Pew Research Center, two of the nation’s main polling organizations, have constantly discovered at the least two-thirds of Individuals again legalization.
Assist is so excessive that, at this level, a majority of Republicans — who’re usually extra skeptical of drug coverage reforms — could help it. Pew discovered 55 % of Republicans again legalization. Gallup discovered a slim majority of Republicans supported it in 2017, 2018, and 2019. That reversed in 2020, however the distinction between help and opposition amongst Republicans was nonetheless throughout the sampling margin of error. And, at any charge, a strong minority of 48 % have been behind it.
Assist amongst Democrats, in the meantime, is within the excessive 70s and 80s throughout polls.
Perhaps Biden doesn’t solely belief the polls — after 2016 and 2020, many people don’t. However there’s real-world proof legalization could be very in style, too.
For one, 17 states have now legalized marijuana, most lately New Mexico. Among the many 15 states the place marijuana legalization has been put in entrance of voters since 2012 (when Colorado and Washington state first legalized), it’s gained in 13.
Much more spectacular is marijuana’s current document in Republican states. Since 2012, marijuana legalization has come up for a vote in 4 states that former President Donald Trump gained by double digits in 2020. It’s gained in three of these states (Alaska, Montana, and South Dakota), and misplaced in a single (North Dakota). Weed is 3-1 in deep-red states.
So what might clarify Biden’s opposition? Primarily based on his public remarks, he appears genuinely conservative on the problem — arguing just for decriminalization (through which the specter of jail or jail time is eliminated for possession, however gross sales stay unlawful), and calling for “extra scientific investigations” into the problem, significantly whether or not pot is a “gateway drug.”
Biden, in spite of everything, not just supported but spearheaded lots of the nation’s present drug warfare insurance policies. In the course of the Nineteen Eighties and ’90s, he backed and helped write invoice after invoice that toughened federal prison penalties towards all kinds of medication. Biden has since admitted to going too far in at the least some respects, however that is the place he constructed his early political profession.
After all, the failure of those insurance policies to cease main drug issues — the nation is at present mired in its deadliest drug overdose disaster ever within the opioid epidemic — and these insurance policies’ punitive nature are causes the general public has shifted towards backing marijuana legalization. And the real-life proof of legalization suggests it really works superb, even main governors in legalization states to regularly flip to supporting it.
However Biden just isn’t satisfied, at the same time as his get together strikes forward with out him. With a veto pen in hand, it might make the president the largest barrier to legalization.