Legalizing Cannabis: Trump vs. Biden

With only a few days left before the 2020 presidential election, the future of cannabis legalization is likely to rest on the shoulders of those sitting in the Oval Office on January 20, 2021. So what are the positions of Donald Trump and Joe Biden towards the cannabis industry? The Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies team shares views from both sides of the electoral spectrum.

Second Trump administration

the White House

If successful re-election removes any concerns about the potential political or electoral advantages of neutrality, President Trump and his political allies in the White House are likely to be openly hostile to the cannabis industry and all associated ancillary businesses from a business perspective. and government policy.

Department of Justice

The Ministry of Justice is likely to continue to provide restrictive guidance to the administrative authorities based on its interpretation of the existing law.


If President Trump is re-elected, it is likely that there will be a Republican majority in one or both houses of Congress. Under this scenario – the Republican majority and an emboldened second-term president no longer owe a relatively supportive cannabis electorate (and is known to criticize the substance) – there will likely not be much interest in considering cannabis-related legislation.

Biden administration

the White House

Notably, Biden has not committed to legalizing marijuana for recreational use at the federal level; instead, his administration will move it from Schedule I to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act and allow states to set their own laws regarding its recreational use. However, he promised to “support [his legalization] for medical purposes.”

Food and Drug Administration

While this depends in part on his choice as FDA commissioner, the Biden administration is likely to increase the frequency of cannabis and CBD product hearings, giving the agency the opportunity to publish actionable guidelines.


If Biden is elected, it is possible that one or both houses of Congress will have a democratic majority, leading to an increase in cannabis-related legislative activity.