With five junior staffers forced to resign, and dozens relocated, the Biden/ Harris administration does not seem as cannabis-friendly as they would have liked us to think.
During the Biden/Harris President campaign, then former Vice-President Biden presented himself as a more cannabis friendly candidate than he had been during previous decades. Biden made statements that he wanted to decriminalize cannabis and expunge the records of some of those with cannabis convictions. He also showed support in favor of medical cannabis, regulated through state laws. This was a drastic change from his nearly 40 years of using his position to push the war on drugs with the narrative that cannabis was a dangerous gateway drug1.
During the primary campaign for Presidency, the now Vice President Kamala Harris openly spoke about her previous cannabis use, and even gave an interview talking about listening to Snoop and Tupac while partaking2 .
Since 2018 Harris has sponsored several acts to regulate and legalize marijuana 3. “Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do. I know this as a former prosecutor and I know it as a senator.It is past time to end the failed war on drugs, and it begins with legalizing marijuana,” Harris said 4 .
During the early days of the Biden/ Harris presidency, applicants for positions within the White House were encouraged to be honest about previous cannabis use and it was implied that using cannabis would not disqualify them from hire. They were also instructed that it was a felony to lie on their application. Yet on March 17, 2021, less than 2 full months into the Biden presidency, dozens of junior staffers were suspended, relocated, and 5 were asked to resign 5.
The question of the month is, has President Biden actually changed his draconian viewpoint on cannabis, or was it all a political tactic to appear as a progressive and get more votes to become the 46th President of the United States of America?
It has only been in the last 10 years that both President Biden and Vice President Harris began to change their views on cannabis. In 2010, the then-vice president stated to ABC News “I still believe it’s a gateway drug. I’ve spent a lot of my life as chairman of the Judiciary Committee dealing with this. I think it would be a mistake to legalize 6”.
With Harris backing away from her stance in favor of legalization and now backing Biden’s current position3; combined with the recent staffing changes, and both the President and Vice President’s long history of being anti-cannabis it seems likely that when it comes to working for the White House, applicants need to remember caution is key even in legal states and they should refrain from posting those party pics.So far, this presidency is starting to smell an awful lot like more of the same ole same.
1 Richey, D., Lambre, W., & Uygur, C. (2021, March 19). The Young Turks. Biden: If you’ve ever Smoked up, you’re out! [Video file]. Retrieved April 05, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO9Z7EDflc8
2 Power 105.1 FM, B., & Harris, K. (Directors). (2019, February 11).The Breakfast Club. Kamala Harris TALKS 2020 presidential Run, legalizing Marijuana, criminal justice reform + more [Video file]. Retrieved April 05, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh_wQUjeaTk
3 Jaeger, K. (2021, March 01). Did Kamala Harris flip-flop on Marijuana again to Adopt Biden’s Anti-legalization Position? Retrieved April 05, 2021, from https://www.marijuanamoment.net/did-kamala-harris-flip-flop-on-marijuana-again-to-adopt-bidens-anti-legalization-position/
4 Lightman, D. (2020, October 07). The Sacramento Bee. Fact check: Where does Kamala Harris stand on marijuana? Retrieved April 05, 2021, from https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/election/presidential-election/article246281370.html
5 Suebsaeng, A., Bixby, S., & Rawnsley, A. (2021, March 19). Biden white HOUSE Sandbags Staffers, Sidelines dozens for pot use. Retrieved April 05, 2021, from https://www.thedailybeast.com/biden-white-house-sandbags-staffers-sidelines-dozens-for-pot-use
6 Angell, T. (2020, March 06).Forbes. Joe Biden is frustrated people think he still believes marijuana is a gateway drug. Retrieved April 05, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2020/03/06/joe-biden-is-frustrated-people-think-he-still-believes-marijuana-is-a-gateway-drug/?sh=6ad9aa359aa2 Forbes