One day after the conclusion of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris briefly spoke on their approach to cannabis.
In an ABC News interview with anchors David Muir from “World News Tonight” and Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America” on Friday, August 21, Biden and Harris addressed the topic of drug reform in their first joint interview. Roberts pressed Harris about how things have changed since her book, “Kamala: Top Cop” came out over 10 years ago. While addressing the change that is necessary to adapt to the world’s view of law enforcement, she explained what she thinks a future under the Biden-Harris administration would look like.
“A Department of Justice, unlike what Bill Barr is under Donald Trump, that is actually investigating these cases and enforcing consent decrees. A policy that is going to be about decriminalizing marijuana. Having a policy that is about looking at having a centralized database in our country that tracks police officers that have been found to break the rules or break the law. These are the kinds of things that need to be in place. Finally,” Harris said in the interview. Cannabis advocates fixate on the mention of “decriminalization,” rather than saying “legalization,” which suggests that the Biden Administration is interested in drug reform in the U.S. to a degree.
Biden briefly addressed the topic when he answered a different question. “ . . . we’re going to make sure that we change the entire system in the way in which we deal with [it], with criminal justice from punishment to [rehabilitation]; no one should be going to jail because they have a drug addiction. They should be going into mandatory drug treatment, that’s why I set up drug courts.” In the past, Biden has stated that he supported the idea of legalizing medical cannabis and allowing states to set their own policies on the substance.
Representative Earl Blumenauer, a staunch proponent of cannabis reform, told Marijuana Moment in an interview that he believes Biden will be a “constructive player” on the issue, if elected as president. However, he has also stated that he thinks Biden’s current approach to a decriminalization plan holds little weight. “It is demanded by the American public. It’s no longer controversial. For the campaign to talk about decriminalization is essentially meaningless. Your grandmother is for decriminalization,” Blumenauer said.