February 4, 2021 11:01 am ETEstimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Founded in 1848, the Democratic National Committee is responsible for the oversight and governing of the United States Democratic Party. This committee serves as the governing body overseeing the Democratic party. South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison has been chosen by President Joe Biden to lead the DNC and help coordinate the party’s political actions. As the Chairman of the DNC, Harrison could mean great things for cannabis reform at the federal level.
In a campaign for the Senate seat formerly held by Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, Harrison spoke out regarding the need to reform the draconian federal stance against cannabis, stating the following.
“I think we should legalize, regulate and tax marijuana like we do alcohol and tobacco. There is simply no medical reason to lock people up over this issue. In essence, this is about common sense. We know that marijuana arrests, including those for simple possession, account for a large number of drug arrests. The racial disparities in marijuana enforcement—black men and white men smoke marijuana the same rates, but black men are much more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession—is just unacceptable.”
Harrison Supports Regulation
Should Harrison be elected to lead the DNC as expected, a push from him to reform cannabis laws at the federal level, backed by overwhelming support among Democratic voters, could very well get the job done once and for all. So other than the social equality aspects, what does the potential incoming DNC leader feel should be done in regard to reforming cannabis laws in the United States?
“I believe we need to regulate marijuana just like we do tobacco. I think we need to tax it and make sure that it’s safe. I just think if you look at the science right now—the criminalization—it’s been more harmful to us as a society than not. I think we will do much better to just simply regulate and tax it just like we do alcohol and tobacco. So I’ve been very plain and outspoken on that. I think we have to decriminalize it at this point in time.”
Past DNC Leadership Was Not So Open-Minded
These open-minded and progressive ideas are some of the most pro-cannabis we have seen within the DNC leadership in recent history. Previously, Tom Perez held the seat as Chairman of the DNC. While Perez hasn’t been the most outspoken in regard to his position on cannabis, he made it quite apparent in 2019 that he doesn’t know much about the plant. This was quite obvious after he attempted to make a joke directed towards President Trump suggesting that he was high from smoking hemp, and that was the underlying cause of a recent statement the President had made regarding farmers in Wisconsin.
Prior to Perez, the DNC leadership was held by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was very anti-cannabis for years. However, in a surprise move in 2020, Schultz voted in support of a spending bill amendment that provided protection to state-regulated cannabis markets from federal interference.
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It Will Take a Village, Not Just Harrison to See True Reform
While having a pro-cannabis candidate leading the DNC might mean great things for cannabis, it will take a village of support to truly invoke change at the federal level. Thankfully, there are many pro-cannabis picks for leadership throughout the new administration, including President-Elect Joe Biden. Though Biden isn’t in support of full-on legalization across the board, he is in support of major reform. Biden has expressed on many occasions that he supports the legalization of medical cannabis. He has also spoken in favor of decriminalizing the possession of cannabis, modest rescheduling, and criminal justice reform such as the expunging of past cannabis-related charges. He also believes that the federal government should not interfere with states that vote in favor of reforming their laws and enacting legal markets in their local economies. He even supports healthcare for all, a progressive stance that he took while he was running for Senator of South Carolina. Unfortunately, he lost to Lindsay Graham.
Come November, South Carolina will have a Senator who believes that we *all* deserve health care.
Nominee for leading the Department of Health and Human Services is none other than California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, which is widely known for supporting cannabis reform. Additionally, Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island has been chosen by the incoming administration to run the Commerce Department. As Governor of RI, Raimondo has been in support of cannabis legalization and even released a budget proposal that included the implementation of a state-run model for regulating cannabis. Another pro-cannabis nominee is Vanita Gupta, who could serve as the Associate Attorney General. Gupta has deeply condemned the current criminalization policies surrounding non-violent drug offenses and is in full support of cannabis legalization.
Do you feel that the Biden administration will be the one to finally make changes at the federal level regarding cannabis? Who do you see playing the most significant role when it comes to cannabis reform? Let us know your thoughts on the subject in the comments below!
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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