2020, came with many challenges and on top of that, it was an intense election year. Going up against Donald Trump was none other than former Vice President, Joe Biden, who was running with an extremely liberal campaign. One of his main promises was to work on legalizing marijuana and to help those who have been incarcerated due to non-violent offenses.
As we all know, Joe Biden has been receiving a lot of backlash and criticism on his broken promises and his failing to create impactful change when it comes to his marijuana reform. Just recently, John Fetterman, Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, has called out Biden on his failures to create any movement to legalize cannabis. Fetterman’s pressures on Biden are a result of Biden’s planned Pittsburgh visit for this upcoming Labor Day parade. Fetterman has made it publicly known, via twitter, that he will be challenging the President during his weekend stay in Pittsburgh.
So what is going on with Joe and his pledge to decriminalize marijuana on a national scale?
At first it seemed that Biden was working fast to get marijuana decriminalized, having created the MORE act around December 2020. MORE stands for Marijuana, Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act and if passed, would work to decriminalize marijuana and remove it from the list of controlled substances act. This would push to remove cannabis from its current Schedule I Classification. Another element of the MORE act would also remove criminal penalties for individuals who manufacture, distribute or possess cannabis, creating a safer industry as a result of it being passed.
Biden came running out of the gate with the MORE act during the early days of his elections, having the House of Representatives pass the act in December 2020. Unfortunately, the Senate didn’t even give it a second glance, instead refusing to hold a hearing and vote on it.
It wasn’t until recently on April 1st, the MORE act was filed once again and handed to the House. Again, it was passed by the house and failed by the Senate.
Around 37 states have already legalized weed on their own, so what’s the hold up?
In order for the MORE act to be passed, it would need 60 approval votes, but it seems that the bill can’t even make it into the Senate’s chamber. A lot of the backlash coming from the Republican party is this belief that even if they pass the MORE act, it won’t actually create safer communities. Although, that sentiment can be proven wrong. In states where weed has already been legalized, they have seen an increase in state funding and decrease in incarceration rates. In an interview conducted in 2021, Robert White, Denver’s police chief, claimed that the violent crime rate had dropped around 9 percent since 2014.
It has been proven that legalizing weed can help bring down crime rates, raise state funding and create successful communities.
So is there more that Joe can do?
Many are calling for Biden to create an Executive Order allowing for the MORE act to pass, but we still have yet to hear anything on that.
Images: “Joe Biden” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
“File:Australian House of Representatives – Parliament of Australia.jpg” by JJ Harrison (https://www.jjharrison.com.au/) is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.