Marijuana in 2020 US Elections

The legalization of marijuana has been a dominant issue of the 2020 U.S. presidential candidate campaigns. The use and possession of marijuana for any purpose is illegal in the U.S. under federal law. However, at the state level, policies concerning the medical and recreational use of the substance vary a lot.

In a whopping 33 states, cannabis for medical use is legal with a doctor's prescription. Marijuana contains both THC and CBD. The former is the part that gets people "high." The latter is the non-psychoactive part of marijuana. It does not get people "high," but it is well-known for its medical use. In 14 U.S. states, laws limit the THC content, so that products rich in CBD are available. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment states that people who abide by state medical marijuana laws cannot face federal prosecution. As for taking marijuana for recreational use, it is presently legal in 11 states.

Where do Republicans stand on marijuana legalization?

More and more Republicans, like Joe Walsh, Bill Weld, and Mark Sanford, are in support of legalizing marijuana. President Trump is now the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2020 presidential election, though. If he wins a second term, it is unclear what his approach to legalization will be.

Although Donald Trump does not personally support legalizing the substance for recreational purposes, he has consistently said he believes states have the right to back legalization without federal interference. In the past, he also expressed support for the legalization of medical marijuana. During his first term in office, Trump showed signs of swinging back and forth on the issue. In 2018, he signed the Farm Bill, which included provisions to legalize hemp. However, in 2019, he signed a spending bill that could allow him to interfere with state-legal marijuana after all.

Where do Democrats stand on marijuana legalization?

One reason marijuana became a hot topic in the preliminaries was due to so many Democrats supporting legalization. Nearly every Democratic primary candidate was in support of legalizing cannabis at the federal level or allowing each state to decide. Among the Democrat candidates for the presidential election, Joe Biden is the only one who opposes full-scale legalization. Former Vice-president Biden became the presumptive nominee in April 2020.

Throughout his long political career, Biden was a driving force behind the War on Drugs, and he consistently voted for heavy-handed drug legislation, including marijuana. While almost all of the 2020 Democrat candidates support reform, Biden does not appear to have reversed his stance on legalization. It may have softened a little, though, because he no longer believes that marijuana is a gateway drug.

Where is the legalization of marijuana heading?

During the candidate contest, marijuana legalization was becoming a hot topic. With so many Democrats wanting reform, and many Republicans also wanting to see an end to marijuana prohibition, the issue is certainly not going away any time soon. As for the voters, according to a Gallup poll, nearly two-thirds now back legalization. However, if the presidential contest is between Biden and Trump, it looks likely that marijuana will not be a part of their manifestos. However,  that does not mean marijuana legalization will not happen during the next presidential term.