President-elect Joe Biden has made his decision as to who he wants to lead the Democratic National Convention. This further displays the future president’s open-mindedness to work with people in support of the issue.
Expected with No Opposition
Joe Biden, who takes office this week, has made his choice as to who he wants to lead the national party. Former South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison will be responsible for coordinating Democrats’ national political activities.
Party leaders still need to confirm this decision on Thursday, when the Democratic National Committee convenes a virtual session. However, it’s expected to be elected without any significant opposition, according to the AP.
Harrison ran for a Senate seat last year but lost to outgoing Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC). During this time, Harrison urged the need to legalize cannabis as a way to promote racial justice.
“I think we should legalize, regulate and tax marijuana like we do alcohol and tobacco,” Harrison said in July. “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,” he added. “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.”
At Odds Against Biden
Although on paper this seems like great news, it comes with a grain of salt. Biden remains opposed to legalization. However, the president-elect favors decriminalizing possession, legalizing medical cannabis, modest rescheduling, expunging records, and allowing states to set their own policies free of federal intervention.
Luckily, Joe Biden has nominated a few other individuals who also support cannabis legalization. Earlier this month, the president-elect announced he wants Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) to run the Commerce Department. Raimondo supported legalization in 2019 when she released a budget proposal that called for a state-run regulatory model for cannabis.
Additionally, Biden selected California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Becerra has a considerable record supporting cannabis reform and working to protect California’s legal program from federal interference.
Finally, the president-elect wants to nominate former prosecutor and civil rights activist Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general. Gupta favors cannabis legalization and has strongly condemned harsh criminalization policies for non-violent drug offenses.
All of these examples prove Biden is open to working with those he had different views with, as long as he accomplishes the greater good. Hopefully, in these next four years, he considers some changes that would allow for federal legalization.