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Biden vs. Trump: Who’s the best choice for the cannabis industry? Who will keep the industry's momentum going?

Who will look out for the needs of medical patients? Which one will seek criminal justice reform?

Biden Vs. Trump Cannabis Legalization Update

Biden vs. Trump: Cannabis Policy

Cannabis Decriminalization

Trump: Trump has never been publicly vocal about weed decriminalization, even when he should have. While he has let states handle their own rules and regulations, he hasn’t exactly helped them out either. Based on his previous track record, don’t bet on decriminalization if he's elected to a second term.

Biden: Decades ago and even during his tenure as vice president, Biden held anti-pot views. Now, he’s more progressive than ever. He has promised to “decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions.” While some may say it's not enough, it’s definitely a win for the industry.

Medical Cannabis

Trump: Trump hasn’t done the medical pot industry any favors. In fact, his former Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, was a strong opponent of medical pot. He proposed removing Obama-era protections for states with medical weed laws. Trump seems not to care about this issue. This leaves room for Biden to win the pot vote.

Biden: Biden hasn’t shown the same strong support for medical pot as he has for decriminalization. On his website, he vows to “support the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes.” He will let states decide whether they want adult-use pot or not.

Cannabis Rescheduling

Trump: During his entire term, Trump has never even hinted at rescheduling pot. Since 1970, weed has been a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Trump has no intention of rocking the boat. He’s letting the states handle their laws while focusing on other policy issues.

Biden: As a stark contrast to Trump’s indifference, Biden has promised to “reschedule cannabis as a Schedule II drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts.” This change may be unsatisfying for some weed activists. It would be a historic move, nonetheless. As a symbolic gesture, the move would pave the way for future rescheduling efforts.

Vice-Presidential Nominees Harris and Pence on Weed

Kamala Harris: During the last vice presidential debate, Sen. Kamala Harris restated her support to decriminalize pot. She also vowed to expunge the records of those who have been convicted of weed. Harris’s views on weed have progressed a lot over the years. As San Francisco’s district attorney, she boasted about locking up drug dealers.

Mike Pence: As a born-again Christian, Pence’s views on weed are no surprise. He considers pot a gateway drug. Recently, he spoke out against weed banking reform. Pence is anti-pot. He’s likely to follow Trump’s stance on letting the states handle weed reform.

Update on Trump and Farm Bill

A huge cannabis industry milestone was reached on December 20, when President Trump signed the USDA 2018 Farm Bill, which removed industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act’s Schedule 1 status and allows untold opportunities for a lucrative hemp industry that includes a CBD market. Some industry professionals believe this is the most monumental event in the history of legal cannabis.

Although industrial hemp and medical/recreational marijuana are two very different things, until the farm bill signing, these two categories were joined at the hip when it came to their legal status and largely untapped market potential. Because both marijuana and hemp are members of the genus Cannabis, they share the same compounds, including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—although hemp contains very little THC.

Because of this very close relationship, these two forms of cannabis have been held up by federal restrictions due to the Schedule 1 status of both. Schedule 1 drugs have no redeeming medicinal value. Strong restrictions exist for Schedule 1 drugs with regard to research—which is greatly needed for both marijuana and hemp.

Under its current definition, “hemp” is classified for the industrial version of cannabis that contains less than 0.3 percent THC. This is a minuscule amount when you consider that popular marijuana trains commonly contain 15-20 percent THC—with some of the more potent strains commonly testing in the 30- and even 40-percent range.

However, while it does contain very little THC, hemp does contain fairly high levels of CBD—which along with THC has huge potential for medical use and dietary supplement.

Biden Vs. Trump cannabis legalization. Trup shakes Barack Obama's hand while Joe Biden looks

FDA Warnings on Farm Bill

Hemp’s new legal status does not mean there can be a free-for-all rush on creating and marketing hemp products. The industry will most definitely have regulations and processes.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was quick to issue a statement about what the farm bill signing means for the general public. “We treat products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds as we do any other FDA-regulated products,” the FDA said. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gotlieb warned that people can’t just start marketing hemp-derived products as medicine or dietary supplements.

“Just as important for the FDA and our commitment to protect and promote the public health is what the law didn’t change: Congress explicitly preserved the agency’s current authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and section 351 of the Public Health Service Act,” Gottlieb said in an official statement.

The legal medical and recreational cannabis industry already has a booming market for CBD products, with many dispensaries and adult-use stores selling CBD products ranging from flower strains rich in CBD and low in THC, CBD-infused edibles and beverages, CBD topicals, and CBD oils and other concentrates.

“We’re aware of the growing public interest in cannabis and cannabis-derived products, including cannabidiol,” Gottlieb added. “In short, we treat products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds as we do any other FDA-regulated products—meaning they’re subject to the same authorities and requirements as FDA-regulated products containing any other substance.

This is true regardless of the source of the substance, including whether the substance is derived from a plant that is classified as hemp under the Agriculture Improvement Act.”

This is not to say that the FDA ever turned a blind eye to the emerging and rapidly growing cannabis industry. To the contrary, it’s kept a close eye on it, including the claims made by companies about the medical benefits of cannabis.

While these claims may be true, they remain largely unsubstantiated. When cannabis companies made claims about cannabis being a cure for cancer and decreasing malignant tumors prompted action from the FDA with warnings to specific companies to change the wording on their packaging and promotional material.

Questions Remain

While there may be restrictions that result from the legalization of hemp, President Trump’s signing of the 2018 Farm Bill allows the cultivation of the plant in all 50 states with approval from the federal government.

Questions remain about the process of hemp companies working with federal agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Clearly, there are a lot of policies and practices to address and work through.

What the 2018 Farm Bill does signify, however, is the federal government’s first real indication that it recognizes the viable and lucrative market. Some optimistic cannabis industry executives see this move as a precursor to the federal government soon recognizing and making moves to regulate all form of cannabis, specifically medical and adult-use marijuana.

There are hints that this may, indeed, be likely. Former Speaker of the House John Boehner is on record as saying, “I’m all in on pot,” and speculating that the federal government will address legal marijuana within five years. Boehner has become a firm proponent of legal cannabis, investing and promoting the industry at a surprising level.

He was the keynote speaker at the 2018 American Cannabis Summit, a much-hyped international event for hemp and marijuana investors. Prior to the summit, promotions on social media indicated that legal cannabis could become a $1 trillion industry “very soon.”

Market Potential and History of Hemp

Regardless of the need for the federal government and companies to establish industry rules and regulations for manufacturing, testing, production, and labeling practices, the profits generated by this proven and historic industry should be enormous.

As many people with an interest in cannabis and hemp know, the United States founding fathers were, among other things, hemp farmers. Cultivation in the colonies was not only legal but encouraged and even mandated.

The reasons it was such an important crop during the colonial era of America are the same as the reasons for its even huger potential today because of an increase in its potential uses.

Not that hemp wasn’t a vital crop centuries ago. Consider this. Columbus never would have sailed the ocean blue and discovered America if it wasn’t for hemp, because the sails of his ship were made from this valuable resource. The plant had an amazing impact on art and culture, too.

The artistic masterpieces from painters like Rembrandt and Van Gogh would never have happened if not for hemp, because the canvases of these artists were made by, you guessed it, hemp. In more modern times, the recognized used for the plant only increased.

We now know that a broad range of textiles and plastics can be made from the plant. Not only that but construction materials and fuels can be made from it as well. Major automobile companies have even created cars from hemp, and these vehicles could actually run on hemp.

Hemp also is a superior material for paper production and is a sustainable resource in a time when the importance of sustainable products and foods is at an all-time high. The fully untapped potential of hemp remains to be seen.

So, why was the plant made illegal if it was such an amazing resource? In 1937, when the Marijuana Tax Act was enforced, hemp and marijuana were lumped together under the same umbrella because the plants were too closely related and looked so similar regardless of the fact that hemp is quite different from mind-altering marijuana.

Due to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp’s future is brighter than ever. It should regain its status as a vital cash crop, much for the good of the American people. Whether it’s the plant's potential for medicine or products, these are exciting times for the hemp industry and cannabis as a whole.

Update On Trump Vs. Biden On Cannabis Legalization

Politicians, including prominent personalities like Donald Trump and Joe Biden, have differing degrees of support and resistance towards the topic of legalizing cannabis in the United States. Here is a summary of their positions as of my most recent update in April 2023, which was based on their remarks and deeds up to that time:

Donald Trump On Cannabis Legalization 

The administration of Donald Trump, who served as president from 2017 to 2021, gave conflicting messages about cannabis. During his campaign tour, Trump declared that while he was in favor of medical marijuana, he thought the states should have the last say over recreational usage. On the other hand, his government did not actively pursue measures to change federal cannabis legislation.

The most prominent position taken by his administration came from Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General at the time, who was adamantly opposed to the legalization of marijuana.

Sessions signaled a potential federal crackdown on legal cannabis by rescinding the Cole Memorandum, an Obama-era policy that had protected states with legal cannabis from federal meddling. This crackdown, meanwhile, did not materialize to a great degree.

Throughout his administration, Trump himself avoided taking a firm stand in favor of comprehensive federal marijuana law reform and did not give the legalization issue a priority.

Joe Biden on Cannabis Legalization

Throughout his political career, Joe Biden's stance on cannabis has changed. In contrast to some of his Democratic primary rivals, Biden supported more modest measures during the 2020 presidential race. He ran on a platform that included:

-decriminalization of possession and usage of marijuana.
-eradication of previous marijuana offenses.
-cannabis should be rescheduled as a Schedule II substance to support research.
-letting states decide how to proceed with complete legalization.
-promoting the use of and research on medical marijuana.

Biden has stated that he is in favor of decriminalizing cannabis since taking office, although he has not fully endorsed federal legalization.

His administration has placed a strong emphasis on the need to amend policies that disproportionately impact low-income and communities of color.

The Biden administration had not yet implemented any significant executive measures to reschedule cannabis or advance extensive legislative reforms as of my previous report.

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Nonetheless, Congress has been debating and considering legislation related to reforming cannabis laws.

Biden Vs. Trump Cannabis Legalization

Both Biden and Trump have expressed some degree of support for states' autonomy to decide whether or not to legalize cannabis. Neither has made a strong case for complete federal legalization.

Despite some stern words from some officials, the Trump administration mostly left states that had legalized cannabis alone, without interfering on the federal level.

Even if he supports decriminalization and expungement, Biden has not significantly changed federal policy, despite some support from his party for doing so.

It's critical to remember that American cannabis laws are still being developed, and public sentiment has been moving in favor of legalization.

Political figures may modify their positions and approaches to policy as these developments take place.

Check out their most recent remarks and policy changes for the most up-to-date details on their views and actions.

Fred Hernandez - Cannabis industry expert writer
Fred Hernandez

Fred Hernandez is a highly accomplished and versatile writer, boasting an extensive background in the cannabis industry. With an in-depth understanding of various sectors including cultivators, processors, retailers, and brands, Fred's expertise spans across the entire cannabis landscape. As a prominent contributor to CTU, he consistently delivers insightful articles exploring the latest developments, news, and regulations shaping the cannabis industry. Whether it's delving into the intricacies of cannabis products, cannabis strain reviews, or providing comprehensive analyses of cannabis laws, or sharing expert insights on cannabis cultivation techniques, Fred's wealth of knowledge positions him as an invaluable writer and educator for all cannabis-related subjects.

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