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Biden, It’s Time to Show Your Hand

Mr. Biden, we need you to be aggressive; announce a plan for sensible marijuana reform.

We are living in an era where everyone seems to be pitted against everyone, and even the most fundamental topics have become political statements. And yet, in a virtual hot box of political smoke, there is one pivotal card that neither party seems to be willing to play, and ironically, it will likely earn a significant portion of the bipartisan vote.

The Promise of Federal Marijuana Legalization

To some, it seems that Biden refuses to broach legalization because he’s read a few studies about the potential for adverse effects. According to a recent article I read in the Atlantic, Stef Feldman, Biden’s policy director, explains, “As science ends up with more conclusive evidence regarding the impact of marijuana, I think he would look at that data. But he’s being asked to make a decision right now. This is where the science guides him.”

But, clearly, he’s not aware of the public support of the movement. In a recent piece published in Marijuana Moment, even Congress is showing signs of supporting a 2021 legalization effort. In another article in Forbes, both parties show majority support for legalization.

Support the Leaf, Win the Vote

When looking at the statistics, it becomes even more difficult to understand the opposition. In November of last year, Pew Research released new survey results showing that a whopping 91% of Americans supported marijuana legalization in some form. Only 8% of participants are against legalization entirely. Name one other political platform topic that garners that kind of widespread public support.

In fact, the following week, Pew Research continued their deep-dive into cannabis support showing the breakdown of opinions by various demographics. As the data clearly showed, the only generation still expressly against the legalization of cannabis was the silent generation, those born before 1945 — Joe Biden’s age. Yet the Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials all overwhelmingly support ending marijuana prohibition.

Political positioning plays a small role, but support for marijuana, in general, is increasing across the board. In a recent survey published by YouGov and Marijuana Moment, 67% of Democrats believe in the overall success of the industry, while 54% of Independents agree, just 41% of Republicans will say the same. Although Republicans still lag in their cannabis industry confidence, Republican support has grown tremendously over the last decade.

Stop Waiting on Restricted Science, Lift the Veil and Make it Happen

There seems to be one caveat that many lawmakers, including Biden, have forgotten. Before you can demand that we need more research, you must first reschedule marijuana to make it easier for scientists to do the warranted research. While the FDA is cracking down on cannabis and hemp businesses for making unfounded medical claims, the lawmakers have done nothing to remove restrictions preventing the necessary analysis they need to support those claims. It’s the epitome of a “Catch-22.”

For far too long, studies regarding the medical efficacy of cannabis and its derivatives have been squelched. Laws, regulations, and mountains of red tape have limited the abilities of qualified professionals to even question the plant, let alone study it. Frankly, without federal legalization, the United States is falling behind the curve.

Public Health Concerns?

Although Biden, along with every other politician for the last decade, chooses to ignore the will of the people for his own perceived notion of protecting public health, there’s a glaring in error in their prioritization. Before we can predict the possibilities of potential, future public health threats, could we first take a more in-depth view of public health concerns that exist today?

Clearly, priority needs to be given to the problems that are real, not imagined.

Racism: Remember that many cities and counties are taking steps to declare racism a public health crisis. Statistics show that black men are arrested for marijuana offenses 4:1 over their white counterparts. Decriminalizing marijuana could be the first step to ending systemic racism and prevent a disproportionate number of black juveniles entering the criminal justice system too early.

COVID: A contagious disease is a current public health crisis, stealing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans. And while cannabis over-consumption can certainly lead to problems, we know that fatal overdose isn’t one of them. While I’ll make no unfounded claims, with unrestricted research, who knows what could be discovered about the benefits of cannabis, there’s little doubt we need to remove limitations on research:

University of Georgia: CBD, ACE2 Inhibitors, and COVID-19
University of Miami: COVID-19 and Cannabis Use
University of Lethbridge, Alberta, CA: COVID-19 Prevention
Private Canadian Study: Cannabis for Controlling Inflammation Response in COVID
Israel Cell Therapy: InnoCan Uses CBD for COVID Treatment
Israel Institute of Technology: Exploring Cannabis Terpenes for COVID-19 Inhalation Treatments

Opiate Addiction: Without alternatives, tens of thousands of people will die from opiate abuse this year. This is a public health crisis fueled by the very industry that fights against marijuana legalization. Drug overdose fatalities are on the rise as people are losing medical coverage and losing support systems due to the pandemic, legalizing cannabis could be the miracle someone is praying for right now.

The Biggest Fish to Fry

Over the last four years, we’ve watched our country fall into despair, torn apart by selfish, greedy businessmen, ulterior motives, and shady politicians. More than anything, we need a voice of reason, compassion, and understanding to start to heal the division. If playing the marijuana card is what seals the deal, then by God… let’s make that happen!

We cannot pussy-foot around and pretend that this election isn’t the most critical factor in bringing a little normalcy back to the White House, and back to America. Mr. Biden, I understand that you may not be so sure of the decision, but at least set the stage and win the vote. You don’t have to agree to legalization across the board, but commit to removing the veil of secrecy regarding the research, commit to moving forward, commit to being open to discussion. Commit to anything, but make a public declaration of support for the cannabis industry.

It’s time to trump the Trump — play the magical marijuana card, get the vote, and save our nation.

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