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MPP urges presidential candidates to step up on cannabis policy

Aug 03, 2020

Biden, Biden campaign, Controlled Substances Act, Criminal Justice, criminal justice task force, equity, federal cannabis reform, federal law, letters, November election, presidential candidates, presidential election, racial justice, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Trump, Trump administration


With less than 100 days until the November election — and with neither presidential contender taking a stand in support of cannabis legalization — the Marijuana Policy Project sent letters to the Biden campaign and the Trump administration urging both candidates to do better when it comes to cannabis policy. 

At a moment when cries for racial and criminal justice reform are echoing throughout the country, and a strong majority of Americans favor making cannabis legal, with support across all demographics, the time for meaningful cannabis policy change is now. 

MPP authored the letter to the Biden campaign in response to recommendations made to the presumptive Democratic nominee by a criminal justice task force created in partnership with Sen. Bernie Sanders. Although the final report contained many key provisions that are a major advancement from the law today, disappointingly, it did not include legalizing cannabis.

MPP urged Biden to adopt a more comprehensive approach and legalize marijuana for adults. Short of that, we advised a Biden administration to remove both criminal and non-criminal penalties associated with cannabis use and change federal law to more clearly open the door for states to regulate. In particular, we asked that equity and racial justice be a driving force behind all cannabis policy reformation. Read the Biden letter here.

Serving as a counterpoint to the Biden letter, MPP sent a similar letter to the Trump administration. Our letter to Trump covered similar areas of policy and outlined five actions the president could take now to help end the costly and destructive war on cannabis. Our suggestions to Trump included: 1) removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act; 2) pardoning federal, nonviolent cannabis offenders and championing expungement; 3) removing federal barriers for cannabis businesses; 4) issuing an executive order allowing all patients access to medical cannabis; and 5) expediting cannabis research. Read the Trump letter here

As the election cycle continues, MPP will continue holding the candidates accountable and injecting our issue into the dialogue, with the goal of pushing them to evolve their positions on cannabis policy.