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With Democrats in control of both houses of the federal legislature and Joe Biden in the Oval Office, many cannabis advocates hoped that the current moment could finally see the end of cannabis prohibition at the federal level. But almost a year into President Biden’s first term, the new left wing leadership is no closer to legalization than his Republican predecessor.

Meanwhile, a few hundred miles away from D.C. in Massachusetts, a high profile birthday party for another recent President is setting a new precedent for cannabis proximity.

According to Yahoo! and a slew of news and gossip reports, President Barack Obama’s 60th birthday bash on Martha’s Vineyard was a celeb-packed sourie with plenty of food, drinks, dancing, and yes, weed.

Despite the exclusive guest list, some partygoers couldn’t help but upload their party exploits on social media. Some of the photos and videos that ended up on Instagram featured rapper Trap Beckham and his manager, TJ Chapman, smoking massive blunts. The photos were deleted from social media, but by that time, it was clear that Obama’s party was a 420-friendly – or at least tolerant – affair.

“I had to delete everything because of the regulations. It was decidedly epic. If the videos transcended, they would go viral. He danced the whole time. No one has ever seen Obama like that before,” Beckham commented on his social media.

Of course, cannabis is completely legal in Massachusetts – and who wouldn’t want to get a little stoned while dancing with the Obamas – but after President Obama failed to pass meaningful cannabis reform during his own two terms, the 44th President’s lax attitude towards weed in retirement raises new questions about the level of respect given to legalization advocacy at the federal level.

President Obama already came under fire while he was in office for his admitted past pot use and refusal to even attempt to legalize the plant. In retirement, Obama has continued a tangential relationship with weed, but still has not yet taken on legalization as a political cause. In addition to the stoners present at his birthday party, a Snoop Dogg song from earlier this year hinted that the rap world’s most famous toker might have shared a smoke with President Obama.

“Still sippin’ gin and juice / While I’m smoking marijuana / I bet you never blew with Obama,” Snoop raps on his song “Gang Signs.

Cannabis legalization has picked up significant steam in popular culture and political circles in the years since Obama left office, but you wouldn’t know that looking at the federal government. After Obama left office, Donald Trump’s presidency returned to a right wing concept of conservative morality. Unlike previous presidents Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton before him, Trump had never admitted to drug use in his youth and showed little sympathy for the plight of legalization advocates.

As Biden took over in January 2021, legalization had moved from a West Coast oddity to a fact of life for more than half of all Americans, with states from Massachusetts to Illinois, Michigan, and New York joining California, Colorado and other traditionally progressive locations. In fact, during the Democratic primary ahead of the 2020 election, nearly every left wing candidate ran on a platform that included immediate cannabis legalization. Unfortunately, Joe Biden was the only Democratic frontrunner who did not support ending pot prohibition.

During his first year in office, not only has President Biden not legalized weed at the federal level, but he has balked on his campaign promise to decriminalize the drug and expunge past nonviolent cannabis criminal records and even fired staffers who’s only discretion was admitting past pot use.

Popular left wing legislators like Senator Bernie Sanders have called on president Biden to act on cannabis reform – a political stance that is incredibly popular across party lines – he has shown no signs of budging.

Maybe, just maybe, a public push from President Obama could help move things along a little faster. Still, despite his chill party vibes, it appears that marijuana progress will once again take a back seat in the Oval Office.