President Joe Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki was unable to say whether the president supports the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act after the House passed the bill last week on mostly party lines. Rather, she said during remarks to reporters on Friday — first reported by Marijuana Moment — that Biden “agrees that we need to rethink our approach” to cannabis.
The secretary went on to mention that candidate Biden’s thoughts during the campaign were that the U.S. should “address the racial disparities and systemic inequities in our criminal justice system, broaden research on the effects of marijuana and support the safe use of marijuana for medical purposes.”
During last week’s remarks, Psaki said, “We look forward to working with Congress to achieve our shared goals — and we’ll continue having discussions with them about this objective,” but she did not elaborate on what those objectives might look like, the Moment noted.
These vagaries add to the haze clouding questions about cannabis policy during Biden’s first presidential term. The president himself has said little about cannabis legalization but in the past, he was not in favor of significant reforms. Secretary Psaki said last year that Biden’s opposition to broader cannabis reforms “has not changed,” despite saying on the campaign trail that states should decide their own cannabis policy, according to the report.
Vice President Kamala Harris said last year the administration was not focused on Biden’s cannabis campaign trail promises because they were overwhelmed by other issues, like the pandemic. Earlier this year, however, the Biden Administration disappointed cannabis advocates when it opted to include an unnecessary rider that blocks cannabis sales in Washington DC, despite voters there having voted overwhelmingly in favor of cannabis legalization and for establishing a regulated marketplace.
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