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When Joe Biden secured the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential race, cannabis activists across the US let out a collective groan. With more than two-thirds of Americans now supporting federal legalization, Biden was the lone contender in the Democratic race who did not vow to end pot prohibition if elected. Now, Biden is yet another anti-legalization leader in the White House.

If there was any silver lining to Biden’s nomination for legalization advocates, it was his running mate, the current Vice President, Kamala Harris. Harris had faced criticism for her career from marijuana reformers as a firmly anti-cannabis District Attorney in San Francisco, but the former top cop had since changed her tune, coming out in total support of federal marijuana measures focused on racial justice. Without a dedicated cannabis champion at the head of the country, the running train of thought amongst optimistic activists was that Kamala could push Biden towards the light from inside the Oval Office.

“She does have [Biden’s] ear on these issues of criminal justice and racial justice, so our hope is that she will be influencing the policy decisions,” Maritza Perez, director of the Office of National Affairs at the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance, told The Verge last month.

Less than two full months into the Biden/Harris administration though, the influence on cannabis policy seems to have gone the other way, with new documents suggesting that Harris has back-tracked her legalization support to match Biden’s decriminalization-only stance.

“Harris’s positions are now the same as Biden’s,” a Harris aide who asked not to be identified by name told Bloomberg on March 1st.

So what is Biden’s position on pot? Instead of legalization, Biden’s eventual plan for cannabis involves nationwide decriminalization and expungement of nonviolent federal marijuana convictions. And while those expungements would be a massive step in the right direction to start repairing the wrongs of the war on drugs, stopping at decriminalization instead of legalization would uphold cannabis criminalization and would not set up federal oversight for pot business, or offer support or regulation for existing state-legal cannabis companies.

On a statewide level, decriminalization has often left the decision of whether to stop, search, cite, or arrest cannabis users up to local police departments. So while states and cities with decriminalization measures often see marked decreases in total stops and arrests for weed, those same locations typically report continued racial disparities in the pot stops that do continue. Similarly, decriminalization allows for significantly reduced punishment for minor pot use but leaves heavy criminal statutes associated with unregulated cannabis cultivation and distribution.

Biden has defended his decriminalization stance in the past by claiming that if marijuana is re-classified as a Schedule II drug, it would open the door for in-depth research, hopefully creating clinical data on the medical efficacy and potential side effects of cannabis use.

“Biden believes no one should be in jail because of cannabis use,” a section of the President’s website outlining his policies on justice reads. “As president, he will decriminalize cannabis use and automatically expunge prior convictions. And, he will support the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, leave decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, and reschedule cannabis as a Schedule II drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts.”

Critics of that plan point to the pharmaceutical regulations regulating Schedule II drugs like oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, and more, and say that there would still be no place for federal oversight in the current state-legal cannabis model under that plan.

But while Biden’s support of decriminalization is a strong progression from his decades as a tough-on-crime prohibitionist in the Senate, the same cannot be said for Harris.

Working as the San Francisco DA from 2004 to 2010, Harris’s office oversaw 1,900 cannabis convictions, a big jump from her more lenient predecessor. Even as Californians pushed to turn the state’s medical marijuana industry into an adult-use recreational industry, Harris actively pushed back against a failed 2010 measure and the 2016 initiative that eventually brought legal weed to the Golden State.

From her 2016 pot opposition, Harris eventually saw the benefits of marijuana reform and adopted her own decriminalization and expungement stance in 2018. And as the national opinion on weed progressed even more during the Trump administration, so too did Harris’s stance. By 2019, the then-Senator had become an open and vocal advocate of federal legalization laws, making complete nationwide cannabis reform a major platform of her 2020 presidential candidacy.

“Something else it’s past time we get done is dismantling the failed war on drugs—starting with legalizing marijuana,” Harris wrote in 2019. “We need to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related offences from the records of millions of people who have been arrested and incarcerated so they can get on with their lives.”

It is not clear if Harris’s reversion to create a unified, decriminalization-first stance in the executive branch would hinder any potential efforts from federal legislators to pass a cannabis legalization bill, or if Biden and Harris actually plan to follow through with their nation-wide decriminalization and expungement plan in the first place. But despite overwhelming support from the American public, it certainly appears that federal marijuana legalization will once again be put on the back burner.