The upcoming presidential race is set to be a real doozy. It is one where the country will either embrace the same lunatic shenanigans it has experienced for the past few years with President Trump or relish in new blood.
Many cannabis advocates hope that if the Democrats take over the Oval Office, it will be by someone dedicated to changing the pot laws in this country. But wouldn’t you know it. Out of all the Democratic candidates that have put their hats in the ring, the one that has the best chance at earning it, former Vice President Joe Biden, might be a little bassaskwards when it comes to marijuana reform.
When the 76-year-old Biden announced on Thursday that he was going for the 2020 presidential election, the cannabis industry felt something it hasn’t in a long time – heat, panic and fear that all of its work to legalize the leaf at the national level was about to go up in flames for at least another four years. After all, presidential support is critical in the next phase of legalization in this country. Even if Congress would happen to come to terms on a plan to legalize weed across the United States, the president must still sign off on it before it becomes law.
Indeed, Obama’s one-time right-hand man is a solid contender that could definitely stymie the progress of pot in this country. He has a long history as one of the most avid drug warriors in Congress, one of which includes supporting federal policies to ramp up mass incarceration for dope offenders.
Biden was never a fan of marijuana, either. In the past, he voted to impose harsher sentences against pot offenders, and has essentially helped make it easier for law enforcement to crack the skulls of stoners.
Although Biden is trying to reinvent himself as part of this upcoming election, his position on drugs, especially marijuana, does not appear to have changed. We hate to say it, but in many ways, the cannabis community is almost better off with four more years of orange-goon politics than taking a chance on Biden.
“He‘s very out of touch on this subject compared to other candidates,” Mason Tvert, spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Rolling Stone. “Quite frankly, he seems to be a bit more out of step on this issue than President Trump.”
But then again, cannabis advocates have a tendency to be a little paranoid. They also seem to forget that people do change. Sure, Biden spent most of his political career staunchly opposed to drugs, but it must be taken into consideration that the man got started in the Senate back in 1974. High Times magazine was just getting started back then and the drug war, well, that was all brand new. No one, at the time, had any idea that taking such a hard-nosed approach to combating dope slingers would be such a failure.
Fast forward to present times and most of the country understands that we cannot arrest our way out of a drug problem. To that end, the majority also seems to get the idea that legalization has mostly favorable results.
The truth of the matter is Biden did spend most of the eighties and nineties pushing the “tough on drugs” mentality. But the thing is, no one really knows where Biden stands on marijuana reform in this day and age. He has not yet offered up his position on the matter in the form of a public statement. Still, Biden did say recently that he does regret supporting the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. When asked about it during a criminal justice event, Biden said: “I haven’t always been right.”
It is difficult to imagine that Biden‘s campaign expects to clinch the nomination by selling old ideas about marijuana that more than 60 percent of the population no longer buys into. His team is up against a slew of Democratic pot progressives, all of which support the idea of national legalization, and considering that even President Trump is poised to offer his full support on marijuana reform in the near future, running a campaign that suggests the nation revert back to the “Just Say No” methodologies of the eighties just doesn’t make sense. So, while it is necessary to take Biden’s anti-drug record into serious consideration, he should be at least given a chance to update his views on weed (John Boehner did!) before he is ruled out as the Democratic choice.