Will Kamala Harris have a positive influence on US cannabis law?

Published Aug 27, 2020 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Darren415

Who is Kamala Harris? Well, she is the first Black woman to be elected attorney general of California. She is a woman, with Black and American Indian heritage running through her veins, and she is also the running partner for Joe Biden. We will have to summon up patience and wait and see if she is able to push Joe Biden in the same direction that she wishes to take on the green road of marijuana legalization.

The former vice president chose Harris for his partner, and she is looking for the federal rescheduling of marijuana to come to light. Can she pull the former vice president into the green path of federally legal cannabis?

Fingers crossed

Can this woman fulfill her dream?  The promise of America being free and fighting to make sure that every American has a chance to achieve the vision is paramount in Kamala Harris’s journey. She wants to make sure that every American has the opportunity to succeed in life as promised. Hard work and determination are the foundation that she believes her mother and father bought her up to think and fight for.

Change of heart

While Kamila Harris wore the prosecutor hat, she coauthored a voter guide that opposed a California legislation in 2010. Moving forward in 2014, she sponsored a bill that would federally deschedule cannabis in 2019. The Kamala Harris 2020 campaign made marijuana reform a significant component of her criminal justice platform as she ran in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. However, since 2019 when she dropped out of the primary race, she has been less vocal.

Steep task

Joe Biden might take some work to persuade him to follow in Harri's green footprints. Biden has put his planted foot on the luscious green cannabis path, but will he take it? His line so far is drawn at decriminalizing cannabis possession medical cannabis legislation, expunging past convictions, and giving each state the ability to set their policies.


It is essential, perhaps, to mention that Harris is the chief State sponsor of the (MORE) act Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act. The comprehensive legislation includes various social equity combined with restorative justice allowances. These advocates that have their eyes and ears trained on Harris are interested in whether she will continue to strongly advocate for the reform, now, as she comes on board the Biden campaign.

Unfortunately, when he was asked about Biden and his cannabis views in July, she replied that she does not plan to push the presidential nominee on this issue, so nothing is for certain.

Where does Kamila Harris stand?

  • The most noticeable contribution to marijuana reform that Harris has on record is her sponsorship of the MORE Act. 2018 saw her first public support of legalization. If passed, the Marijuana Justice Act would see the removal of cannabis from the federally banned substances while penalizing those states where cannabis laws were enforced disproportionally against people of colour. Harris co-sponsored the 2019 version of this bill.
  • Harris also co-sponsored the SAFE Banking Act, which would see banks protected from federal prosecution when working with marijuana businesses.
  • Protecting people with drug convictions from losing public housing has also been sponsored by Harris.
  • Along with US Senator Orrin Hatch, she called on the Justice Department to cease blocking federal research into medical cannabis.

Last thoughts

Harris has been heard saying that it is past time to end the countries failed war on drugs, but the beginning of that plan starts with legalizing marijuana. Will the title of Vice President encourage Harris to keep her visions on marijuana for America moving forward in a positive direction? Let's see what November 2020 brings us and who will be guiding the walk down the green path to cannabis legalization.

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