While Joe Biden stated “nobody should be in jail for a drug problem,” he still thinks marijuana offenders should receive misdemeanors.
Joe Biden can’t help himself, can he? I mean that, literally, by the way. He can’t seem to help himself win the 2020 Democratic primary. When he entered the presidential race, he was pegged as a favorite by polling number and political pundits. But a series of missteps and blunders have plummeted Uncle Joe back within the pack, no longer the standout.
Among Biden’s misfirings, his position on marijuana continues to distance himself from the Democratic Party. Whereas candidates like Sens. Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders have pushed marijuana at the federal level — and long shot candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang is selling weed-themed campaign merchandise — Biden has pushed a platform for decriminalization only, revealing he wouldn’t legalize cannabis should he be elected President.
During this week’s debate, Biden stated his belief that cannabis-related offenses should be treated as misdemeanors, further alienating him from his party. While he stated that “nobody should be in jail for a drug problem” and that the country should invest in “rehabilitation centers, not prisons,” his position remained firm.
“Nobody who got in prison for marijuana, for example—immediately upon being released, they shouldn’t be in there” Biden said, according to Marijuana Moment. “That should be a misdemeanor.”
Well, Mr. Biden, we disagree.
— National Cannabis Industry Association (@NCIAorg) September 13, 2019
“They should be out and their record should be expunged. Every single right should be returned,” he continued. “When you finish your term in prison, you should be able to not only vote but have access to Pell grants, have access to be able to get housing, have access to be able to move along the way.”
Biden’s comments didn’t go unnoticed by cannabis activist group NORML. The organization was quick to respond on social media to the candidate’s stance.
We haven't forgot your role in mass incarceration and mandatory minimums.
— NORML (@NORML) September 13, 2019
Whether this position will hurt Biden in the long run remains to be seen. But for now, one thing seems obvious — he won’t be receiving ringing endorsements from the cannabis sector.