December 15, 2019
Politics

Biden Undecided Over Marijuana Legalization, Cites Gateway Drug Concerns

Former Vice President Joe Biden has said if he is elected president, he may not legalize marijuana on a federal level, citing his doubts on whether the substance is a “gateway drug.”

Speaking at a Las Vegas town hall on Nov. 16, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said if the United States were to legalize cannabis nationwide he would need to see more evidence linked to its status as a gateway drug, adding that the issue is still up for debate.

“The truth of the matter is, theres not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug,” Biden said. “Its a debate, and I want a lot more before I legalize it nationally. I want to make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it.”

Biden said although he wouldnt immediately legalize cannabis nationally, he thinks “states should be able to make a judgment to legalize marijuana.”

“I think thats OK,” he said.

More research would be needed to determine the drugs fate on a federal level, to ensure its use doesnt lead to the use of other, more harmful substances, Biden added.

“It is not irrational to do more scientific investigation to determine, which we have not done significantly enough, whether or not there are any things that relate to whether its a gateway drug or not,” Biden said.

Bidens recent comments are consistent with his previous lines regarding the drug; he has long supported legislation opposing its legalization. He was answering a question from a voter whether his stance on marijuana has changed.

“No, it hasnt changed,” Biden responded.

When Biden was vice president in 2010, he said: “I still believe its a gateway drug. Ive spent a lot of my life as chairman of the Judiciary Committee dealing with this. I think it would be a mistake to legalize.”

However, Biden this year moved to reclassify marijuana under federal law, shifting it from Schedule I—the most restrictive category—to Schedule II, and supporting decriminalization of its possession.

Marijuana possession “should not be a crime,” he told the Las Vegas town hall.

“It should be, to the extent that it exists, and anyone ever been convicted of the use of marijuana and put in jail, they should be immediately released, their record should immediately be expunged,” Biden said.

“It should be a civil penalty to the extent that it exists in states that dont choose to legalize… But no one should go to jail for it, period.”

He told the participants he would, however, be prepared to push for the legalization of medical marijuana.

“But the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in fact is one that I need more data to make that judgement,” he added.

Bidens remarks come just days after a new poll found that support for legalizing marijuana in the United States has increased this year, with two thirds of Americans backing the move.

Two-thirds of Americans say the use of marijuana should be legal, reflecting a steady increase over the past decade https://t.co/QoMXjiaUYk pic.twitter.com/V4vLqY3r9f

— Pew Research Fact Tank (@FactTank) November 14, 2019

The research from Pew Research Fact Tank interviewed about 9,900 adults from Sept. 3 to Sept. 15, and found that 67 percent of respondents were in favor of its legalization, up 5 percent from its poll last year.

Marijuana Health Concerns

Clinical psychologist Jonathan Stea told The Epoch Times in February that in his 10 years of treating patients with a marijuana use disorder, he has seen “a substantial minority of people that are addicted to cannabis.”

Although cannabis addiction doesnt have such severe symptoms as heroin, fentanyl, or cocaine, he said, it can Read More – Source

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