Biden moves closer to marijuana legalization

The president hopes to reclaim youth support, but legalization brings a host of problems.

What’s happening: The Biden administration has announced that it will reclassify marijuana from Schedule I — the same as heroin — down to Schedule III. While the decision does not legalize pot, it moves a step closer.

Why it matters: President Biden is likely hoping to generate youth turnout, as his poll numbers among voters aged 18-29 have been extremely weak. However, the move toward legalizing pot has downsides, from diminishing the quality of life for average Americans to empowering Chinese and Mexican cartels.

Pot is popular: Marijuana legalization is extremely popular among Americans; one poll found only voters 75 and older rejected legalization. Another found that over two-thirds of individuals aged 18-29 supported it.

  • The federalism problem: The wave of legalization across states has led to a conflict with federal laws, which continue to classify cannabis as an illegal substance.

  • The quality of life problem: The drug’s widespread adoption has led to many complaints about the repulsive smell. One GOP politician in New York asked why public consumption of alcohol is illegal, but pot consumption is not. One D.C. woman sued her neighbor for smoking. The judge ruled in her favor, ordering the man not to smoke in his own apartment or close to hers.

Foreign gangs: Chinese organized crime is dominating the illegal marijuana market across the United States, laundering billions of dollars that end up back in China. Mexican and Latin American cartels are running the same operation, showcasing the illegal pot boom despite its legal status in much of the U.S.

Join the conversation

or to participate.