BREAKING: Biden to Decriminalize Cannabis and Expunge Convictions

In anticipation of today’s scheduled vote on the MORE Act by the U.S. House of Representatives, the Biden Administration just announced that cannabis is now decriminalized, and that all federal cannabis convictions are hereby expunged.

Actually, none of that is true. Sorry! It’s what passes for an April Fools joke here at the Canna Law Blog.

It would be great, though, if the Biden Administration would live up to its campaign promise to “decriminalize the use of cannabis and expunge all prior cannabis use convictions.” Biden and Harris might get around to the related promise to “end all incarceration for drug use alone…” while they are at it. Why not.

It could be that the Administration has been too busy screening staffers for marijuana use, and dismissing incoming candidates for past use of cannabis. The Administration also may have been sidetracked updating employee conduct guidelines to potentially deny security clearance to anyone investing in a cannabis company. Or, it could also be that the President doesn’t actually have the power to unilaterally re- or deschedule marijuana. Biden would have to direct DEA, HHS and FDA to consider that, and he’s been sort of busy. In any case, it’s hard to say!

You can tell I’m getting a bit cynical. It’s great the MORE Act is going to a second vote today. I doubt the Senate will pick it up anytime soon. My guess is that another omnibus bill, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act — which could be introduced in the Senate later this month — would have to be reconciled with the MORE Act if both were to pass. It’s also possible that we’d see contributions from other proposals as well, including the States Reform Act, as a part of the final product.

I have no idea what will happen here to be honest. Neither does anyone else. It’s hard to see around corners and we have been trying to do this for years. Maybe, just maybe, Congress can pull all of this together before the midterms this fall. Probably not though. And if not, the odds may dip once again headed into 2023.

When federal cannabis reform finally does happen, it seems that we won’t have the Executive Branch to thank. For all things cannabis, I dedicate this April Fools’ Day to them.


For more on Biden, Harris and the MORE Act, check out the following: