Grading the Democratic Presidential Candidates on Marijuana: Joe Biden

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Each Saturday, a minimum of for some time, we plan to run a sequence of weblog posts that take an in depth take a look at every of the Democratic Celebration candidates for President in 2020. We’ll study every candidate’s historic method to marijuana regulation and coverage, and likewise canvas every politician’s present stances on marijuana.

As we speak, we begin with Joe Biden, the previous vice chairman and U.S. senator from Delaware. As of at this time’s publish, Biden should still be the present celebration front-runner, and is actually close to the highest of the heap.

General Grade: D

Stance on marijuana: Biden needs to decriminalize marijuana use and mechanically expunge prior legal data exhibiting marijuana possession convictions. He’s, nevertheless, removed from an advocate for cannabis legalization. Biden’s marketing campaign web site nowhere even addresses his beliefs on cannabis. As a substitute, it makes a imprecise assertion about legal justice reform that nowhere mentions the Warfare on Medication or marijuana:

We have to reform the legal justice system to prioritize prevention, remove racial disparities at each stage, eliminate sentencing practices that don’t match the crime, and assist ensure previously incarcerated people who’ve served their sentences are capable of totally take part in our democracy and economic system….”

His failure to say the Warfare on Medication or marijuana on his web site regardless of utilizing “legal justice reform” as a coverage level is presumably as a result of he zealously supported the Warfare on Medication, as described beneath. If Biden actually believes “No person must be in jail for smoking marijuana,” as he instructed voters this previous March, he owes a proof for why he beforehand supported the arrest and incarceration of numerous People for weed.

Historical past with marijuana laws: Biden’s failure to say marijuana on his web site might be intentional. Over the course of his political profession, Biden has expressed his disdain for marijuana, with each his rhetoric and his laws. The previous vice chairman is described as an architect of the Warfare on Medication by Michael Collins, the director of nationwide affairs at Drug Coverage Motion. As a senator, Biden was largely liable for creating the “drug czar” in 1982, a cupboard place that might go on to kind the Workplace of Nationwide Drug Management Coverage and enhance enforcement of anti-drug legal guidelines. Biden constantly pushed for stepping up enforcement of draconian drug insurance policies, even criticizing then-President George H.W. Bush for being too comfortable on medicine.

As vice chairman, Biden’s place on marijuana appeared extra subdued as main drug coverage adjustments have been enacted underneath the Obama administration, together with the Cole memo which made it simpler for states to legalize marijuana. Nonetheless, the Obama administration deflected all makes an attempt to reschedule marijuana, leaving it labeled as a Schedule I drug, the identical schedule as heroin.

Because the Democratic Celebration’s platform more and more turns into pro-legalization, Biden continues to oppose the legalization of marijuana, even for medical use:

Now we have not devoted practically sufficient science or time to cope with the ache administration and persistent ache administration that exists. There’s acquired to be a greater reply than marijuana. There’s acquired to be a greater reply than that. There’s acquired to be a greater approach for a humane society to determine the best way to cope with that drawback.”

Biden will get one factor proper: we do want extra analysis surrounding ache administration. Nonetheless, his refusal to acknowledge the viability of cannabis as a doable therapy exposes his primary misunderstanding of each marijuana and the medicine at present used to handle ache. Although intensive analysis is important to find out the efficacy of marijuana for particular maladies, there may be little doubt that it has large potential for decreasing the U.S.’s ongoing opioid epidemic, amongst different issues. Contemplating the prevailing scientific proof, Biden’s perspective that marijuana is one way or the other “inhumane,” and thus to not even be thought of as a therapy for ache, is solely illogical. His opinion stems extra from prejudice in opposition to cannabis (and the individuals who use it) than from science.

Conclusion: Biden receives an “D” grade for his views on cannabis as a result of he each fails to acknowledge or acknowledge its medicinal makes use of and since he’s the one distinguished Democratic Celebration presidential candidate who doesn’t help cannabis legalization. The one factor Biden has going for him is a said need for legal justice reform, which saves him from a failing grade.

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