Former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s views on cannabis seem to be evolving. Throughout a conference get in touch with with reporters Monday, Biden reversed his earlier stance that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” Biden told reporters that he hasn’t noticed proof to assistance the gateway drug theory about cannabis. But only a week prior, in the course of a Las Vegas town hall, Biden stated the precise opposite. In front of the town hall crowd, Biden stated there was not adequate proof to know whether or not or not marijuana is a gateway drug. Now, in the face of public blowback and criticism of his remarks, Biden stated he was only telling the audience what “some say” about cannabis.
In spite of New Stance, Joe Biden Is not Revising His Cannabis Platform
Amongst the crowded field of Democratic candidates, Biden’s views on cannabis reform have been amongst the most conservative. Whilst front-runners like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have named for nationwide adult-use legalization as portion of a strategy to dismantle the war on drugs, decarcerate individuals for drug-connected offenses and expunge prior criminal records, Biden has situated his campaign’s platform at the back of the pack.
Nonetheless, Biden does assistance some key cannabis policy shifts. He has stated he believes the federal government must decriminalize cannabis use and basic possession. And he has backed a strategy to expunge criminal records of minor cannabis offenses. These policies would make a key distinction for a lot of individuals whose lives have been disrupted by an encounter with the justice method more than weed. But they fall far quick of a lot more progressive policies like federal legalization and amnesty for these at the moment behind bars for marijuana-connected convictions.
In spite of Biden’s assistance for decriminalization and expungement, having said that, Biden’s public statements are not creating voters confident that he’s the suitable particular person to lead a key national policy shift on cannabis. And his current “gateway drug” comments are a case in point.
When asked why he does not assistance broader measures like complete legalization, Biden routinely resorts to the argument that there is not adequate proof or study to assistance such a move. But the candidate’s retrograde comments on cannabis reveal that he’s not quite familiar with the most current proof and study supporting legalization.
Out of date on the science and apparently out of touch with modern public views on cannabis, Biden has faced a week of criticism immediately after his “gateway drug” statements at a Las Vegas town hall. Now, Biden is attempting to manage the harm from these statements by attributing them to an anonymous “some say.”
Can Joe Biden Overcome His Terrible Record on Drugs?
Even if Joe Biden reversed course on his gateway drug comments, his new stance is not going to revise the former vice president’s campaign platform. Biden nonetheless will not assistance federal legalization. But his closest rivals for the 2020 Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, do.
And it is not just Biden’s present out-of-step statements about cannabis that voters must be concerned about. As a Senator, Biden was a single of the principal architects of the policies that have fueled mass incarceration and racial disparities across the criminal legal spectrum. For decades, Biden stood sharply opposed to decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana. As former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden bears the brunt of the duty for passing a packet of drug laws that kick-began the modern day war on drugs. He as soon as even attempted to pass a bill that would have criminalized raves, named the Lowering Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act.
And regardless of today’s developing public consensus and mounting proof that federal legalization tends to make sense from a social justice viewpoint, an financial viewpoint, a criminal legal viewpoint, and a healthcare viewpoint, Biden nonetheless claims there is not adequate proof to assistance broad, ambitious marijuana policy.