Joe Biden walks back his previous marijuana support and asks if cannabis could lead to harder drug use.
You could say Joe Biden tried to play nice when he supported marijuana decriminalization and reshuffling cannabis to a Schedule II drug earlier this summer. But ever since then, the democratic presidential candidate has walked back his tacit approval of cannabis to reveal he truly doesn’t care for the plant.
At the Democratic debates in September, Biden insisted marijuana possession should remain an illegal misdemeanor. Biden reversed course further this weekend, stating he would not legalize marijuana as President because there isn’t “enough evidence…whether or not it is a gateway drug.”
“The truth of the matter is, there’s not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug,” Biden said, according to Business Insider. “It’s 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.”
Though Biden doesn’t personally support it, he added that “states should be able to make a judgement to legalize marijuana. I think that’s okay.”
While his opponents in the Democratic primary have unveiled intricate plans to legalize cannabis at the federal level, including grants and programs that would heal the damage caused by the War on Drugs, Biden believes more research is needed. Biden’s congressional voting record, by the way, shows he supported legislation that institutionalized the War on Drugs.
“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 it’s a gateway drug or not,” Biden said.
Biden’s gateway drug theory is not supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which previously explored whether marijuana was, in fact, a gateway drug or not. According to their research, “the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, ‘harder’ substances.”
A 1999 Institute of Medicine report also found that marijuana “typically precedes rather than follows initiation of other illicit drug use.” Cannabis, the report reads, “does not appear to be a gateway drug to the extent that it is the cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse; that is, care must be taken not to attribute cause to association.”