Whoa, you’re here early! We’re still on Beta, so excuse any error or mistakes.

Election 2020: What You Need to Know About Federal Cannabis Legalization

With the U.S. presidential election only a few short months away, what stance do the candidates take on cannabis legalization?

Jason SanderJason Sander · Jul. 28, 2020 · 6 min read
Election 2020: What You Need to Know About Federal Cannabis Legalization

With the U.S. presidential election only a few short months away, what stance do the candidates take on cannabis legalization? We ask this question as well as address some key ideas about legalization as a whole. Keep reading for everything you need to know.

Legalizing cannabis at the federal level certainly is not a new idea - activist groups like NORML have been speaking out about it since the 1970s. Will 2020 finally be the year that we see it happen? Before we jump into the candidate’s stances, let’s quickly review the difference between repeal and legalize.

Repeal VS Legalize

While supporting the idea of legalizing cannabis at the federal level is certainly favorable for cannabis enthusiasts, what we really should be striving for is a full repeal of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. This is important to understand so we can help educate others and increase awareness.

For historical context, alcohol prohibition was repealed by Franklin D. Roosevelt with the 21st amendment to the constitution, which ended the nationwide prohibition of alcohol in the US. Let’s say that again. Alcohol prohibition was repealed. Its prohibition wasn’t cut away branch by branch, it was struck down directly at the root.

This is how cannabis activists should be viewing the legalization of the plant medicine. In fact, legalization isn’t exactly the correct term. Again, it should be repealed. Any way we can peel back the layers of cannabis prohibition and end the failed war on drugs is a good thing, but the reason why alcohol isn’t illegal at the federal level is that its prohibition only lasted from 1919-1933. Cannabis prohibition took hold way back in 1937 and still holds true here in 2020.

The War on Cannabis Rages On

Despite all of the progress we’ve made with legalization and decriminalization, we still have a ways to go. Make no mistake - the war on drugs is still very much a war on cannabis plant medicine. Every year, over 660,000 arrests are made for cannabis in the U.S., according to FBI data. These arrests account for about 40% of the 1.65 million drug arrests annually - most of which are for simple cannabis possession. These arrests are significantly more than that of heroin, cocaine, and other hard drugs. These figures were from 2018, and 2019 are still being compiled.

While overall arrests for cannabis are down in 2018 12% from 52% in 2010, these numbers are simply unacceptable. The continued prohibition of cannabis flies in the face of the will of the majority of the people - as two-thirds of all Americans are now in favor of full legalization, according to Pew Research.


Presidential Candidates’ Stance On Legalization

With all of this evidence to support the fact that the majority of Americans think cannabis should be legal, will the president-elect in 2020 make it so? Will the U.S. follow in the footsteps of Canada and legalize herb nationwide? We aren’t holding our breath, but we’re always cautiously optimistic. Here’s where the candidates stand right now as far as we know.

Trump President Trump does not have any intention of federally legalizing or rescheduling cannabis as far as we can see. Cannabis is currently a schedule 1 drug, meaning it is federally viewed as having no medical value and a high potential for abuse.

According to a story from Marijuana Moment, Cory Gardner (R-CO) supposedly talked with President Trump about the bill Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, which was presented to Congress in April 2019. The STATES act would allow states to set their own cannabis laws without federal intervention. Two years ago, Trump said he “really supported” Senator Gardner and his bills to legalize cannabis, although nothing has come from any of Gardner’s bills yet.

Biden Democratic nominee Joe Biden said that “no one should be going to jail for drug crime, period” and said that’s particularly true for cannabis, for which it “makes no sense for people to go to jail.” However, Biden doesn’t favor legalization, but instead decriminalization, giving a puzzling answer of “I know a lot of weed smokers”. This quote is from the infamous interview where he told Charlemagne of the radio show the Breakfast Club that if “you’re still deciding between him and Trump.” Yikes.

As of mid-July, Biden is currently leading in the polls. However, Hillary Clinton was also leading in the polls before Trump became president.

Jo Jorgensen Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen is a long-shot to become president but is the only candidate who outright supports legalization and isn’t afraid to say so. She also says that she would “immediately release anyone serving time solely for drug offenses.”

HashDash - Cultivating Community, Supporting Change

While it doesn’t look like we will get legal cannabis at the federal level this election cycle, we can still continue to peel back layers of the failed war on drugs at the state and local level. HashDash is committed to cultivating community and supporting change by providing you with the most up-to-date information, education, and knowledge regarding all things cannabis.

If you like our content and want to see more, be sure to connect with us on social media and let us know what you’d like to see us cover on our blog - @hashdashdotcom on all platforms. If you haven’t already, you will definitely want to sign up for HashDash to discover your cannabis matches. Thanks for reading! Until next time, happy consuming!

Jason Sander
Jason SanderJason is a versatile writer and marketer with over ten combined years of experience working with clients in various industries. He couples this expertise with six years of writing for the cannabis sector as well as a passion for the business side, and the science behind the plant medicine.




Dominant Terpene



Positive Effects

Negative Effects

Alleviates Symptoms

Helps with

Welcome to HashDash

Are you 21 or older?

By accessing this site, you accept the

Terms and Conditions


Privacy Policy