Former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden has lately announced that he supports cannabis decriminalization — a welcome adjust from his preceding stance on pot, but a far cry from the depth of cannabis reform that is necessary for the future.
At a current campaign quit this week, Biden told voters that “nobody should really be in jail for smoking marijuana,” CNN reports. Even though this statement could have briefly convinced voters that the former VP was now prepared to take a progressive stance on drug reform, his employees immediately confirmed that Biden’s actual stance on legal weed is, in reality, far more conservative in nature.
Biden’s campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told CNN that “Vice President Biden does not think any one should really be in jail basically for smoking or possessing marijuana. He supports decriminalizing marijuana and automatically expunging prior criminal records for marijuana possession, so these impacted never have to figure out how to petition for it or spend for a lawyer.”
“He would let states to continue to make their personal options concerning legalization and would seek to make it less difficult to conduct investigation on marijuana‘s optimistic and adverse well being impacts by rescheduling it as a Schedule II drug,” Bates added. This reclassification would group cannabis with harmful and addictive drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, which do have accepted healthcare makes use of but are nonetheless very restricted.
Biden’s track record as a drug policy maker showcases his conservative, conventional opinions about cannabis. Throughout his stint as VP, Biden did not help cannabis decriminalization or legalization, even even though a expanding quantity of states started legalizing healthcare or recreational marijuana at the time. And through his former term as a senator for Delaware, Biden helped design and style some of the country’s strictest anti-drug laws. Even as lately as final month, he applauded an anti-healthcare marijuana speech at an opioid conference.
The candidate’s new statement does mark a far more progressive policy shift, but his unwillingness to completely commit leaves 1 to wonder if he is merely hoping to win help of liberal cannabis advocates though also attracting older conservatives who nonetheless think that legal weed will kick off a new era of Reefer Madness.
“While Biden’s most up-to-date comments on marijuana represent an evolution away from the stronger prohibitionist comments he produced in the previous, they are far as well timid to actually address the problem at hand and nonetheless leave him lagging far behind his fellow principal competitors, a lot of of whom are correct leaders on ending our nation’s failed prohibition,” Erik Altieri, executive director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment.
“Democratic principal voters in certain have demonstrated they want a person who will offer a progressive and bold vision for attacking the issue of mass incarceration becoming driven in no little component by the more than 600,000 marijuana arrests produced annually,” Altieri continued. “Biden’s new comments illustrate a lack of vision and seriousness of method that would be far more at residence a decade ago than in 2019. Joe: Do much better.”
Michael Collins, director of national affairs for Drug Policy Action, concurred with Altieri’s assessment. “It’s not sufficient to casually help marijuana decriminalization. That is a 2008 position.”