Kanna Knowledge 

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for the Insurance Industry

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SPECIAL ELECTION ADVISORY

While Kanna Knowledge is not taking sides either way on November 3rd, we do want to point out that the candidates’ positions on cannabis have not always been clear cut — and perhaps the biggest shift has come from Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris. Although as a former prosecutor and Attorney General in California she oversaw a rising number of drug-related convictions, she has recently made waves with a major public promise for cannabis reform.

During her recent televised debate with Vice President Mike Pence, Harris promised that if elected, a Biden-Harris administration would decriminalize adult-use cannabis and expunge the records of those who have been previously convicted. That, of course, immediately sent cannabis stocks on an upward trajectory. But how does that square with Harris’s personal history with cannabis?

This is where most industry leaders are hoping that Harris’s shift of position over the past few years isn’t just talk and will be a long-lasting stance. While she has stated in a televised interview that she smoked cannabis while in college, in 2010 and 2014 she opposed California legalization initiatives that were on the ballot (which eventually passed in 2016.) Yet as a Senator, her public stance changed.

In 2017, Harris co-sponsored the Senate introduction of the SAFE (Secure And Fair Enforcement Of Banking) Act legislation, which would have allowed banks to do business with cannabis companies (and is still waiting to become law.) In 2018, Harris signed on to Senator Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act, which would have removed cannabis from the federal list of banned substances and penalized states where cannabis laws were enforced disproportionately against minorities. The following year, she was the lead Senate sponsor of MORE, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act, that would have similarly made cannabis legal at the federal level while providing sentencing reforms and abolishing private prisons.

In 2019, she also co-sponsored (with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) the Fair Chance At Housing Act to reform public housing policies so past drug offenders could find stable housing and not be unfairly evicted. During her own run for the 2020 Presidential nomination, she backed comprehensive cannabis legalization.

As of this writing, Harris continues to pledge that decriminalizing cannabis would be a top priority in a Biden-Harris administration. However, while Joe Biden is also on record as favoring decriminalization, he has not supported complete legalization. equally in favor of immediately legalizing cannabis? Not exactly … although he is in favor of decriminalizing. And while the Trump administration has made no such pronouncements on cannabis reform at the federal level, it has said it would uphold individual states’ rights to regulate cannabis without interference from federal prosecutors. So the only recommendation the Kanna Knowledge team has is this: whether you lean red, blue or magenta, please make sure to vote!