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Joe Biden’s Stance on Legalizing Cannabis: It “Might Be a Gateway Drug”

Joe Biden revisited his original stance on legalizing cannabis, saying it might be a “gateway drug” that needs further study before making national change.

Joe Biden revisited his original stance on legalizing cannabis, saying it might be a “gateway drug” that needs further study before making national change.  

A town hall participant in Las Vegas asked the former Vice President whether his stance had changed on recreational cannabis since he last made a similar statement in 2010. 

Biden is the only 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who hasn’t taken a pro-legalization stance on cannabis, but says that he doesn’t think cannabis possession should be a crime. He used the gateway drug theory to stop short of saying he’d legalize it.

“It’s a debate, and I want a lot more—before I legalize it nationally—I wanna make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it,” Biden explained . 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has said “The majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, ‘harder’ substances.” Several studies have linked legalized medical cannabis to a marked reduction in opioid overdoses. 

Later, Biden talked about how he wants to remove cannabis from Schedule 1 of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which states that a drug has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. The scheduling also restricts scientists from studying the plant. 

As of fall 2019, two-thirds of Americans support cannabis legalization. 

“So, it should not be a crime,” said Biden. “It should be a civil penalty to the extent that it exists in states that don’t choose to legalize. And nationally, I’m not prepared to push for the legalization—medical marijuana, yes—but the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, in fact, is one that I need more data to make that judgement. But no one should go to jail for it, period.”
 

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