Former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s views on cannabis seem to be evolving. In the course of a conference contact with reporters Monday, Biden reversed his preceding stance that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” Biden told reporters that he hasn’t noticed proof to help the gateway drug theory about cannabis. But only a week prior, throughout a Las Vegas town hall, Biden mentioned the precise opposite. In front of the town hall crowd, Biden mentioned there was not adequate proof to know no matter whether or not marijuana is a gateway drug. Now, in the face of public blowback and criticism of his remarks, Biden mentioned he was only telling the audience what “some say” about cannabis.
Regardless 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. Even though front-runners like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have known as for nationwide adult-use legalization as portion of a program to dismantle the war on drugs, decarcerate persons for drug-connected offenses and expunge prior criminal records, Biden has situated his campaign’s platform at the back of the pack.
Nevertheless, Biden does help some important cannabis policy shifts. He has mentioned he believes the federal government should really decriminalize cannabis use and uncomplicated possession. And he has backed a program to expunge criminal records of minor cannabis offenses. These policies would make a important distinction for lots of persons whose lives have been disrupted by an encounter with the justice technique more than weed. But they fall far brief of additional progressive policies like federal legalization and amnesty for these at present behind bars for marijuana-connected convictions.
Regardless of Biden’s help for decriminalization and expungement, on the other hand, Biden’s public statements are not producing voters confident that he’s the appropriate individual to lead a important national policy shift on cannabis. And his current “gateway drug” comments are a case in point.
When asked why he does not help broader measures like complete legalization, Biden routinely resorts to the argument that there is not adequate proof or analysis to help such a move. But the candidate’s retrograde comments on cannabis reveal that he’s not pretty familiar with the most up-to-date proof and analysis 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Out of date on the science and apparently out of touch with modern public views on cannabis, Biden has faced a week of criticism immediately after his “gateway drug”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 nevertheless will not help federal legalization. But his closest rivals for the 2020 Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, do.
And it is not just Biden’s existing out-of-step statements about cannabis that voters should really 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 contemporary war on drugs. He when even attempted to pass a bill that would have criminalized raves, known as the Decreasing 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 point of view, an financial point of view, a criminal legal point of view, and a health-related point of view, Biden nevertheless claims there is not adequate proof to help broad, ambitious marijuana policy.