Decriminalization, not legalization. “No one should be going to jail for drug crime. Period. Nobody. Nobody.”

Joe Biden joined The Breakfast Club radio program last week, where the former vice president discussed his agenda for black Americans as well as his drug policy. In an attempt to explain why cannabis should be decriminalized instead of legalized at the federal level, Biden replied, “I know a lot of weed smokers.”

The conversation started with the former vice president reprising his drug policy platform’s aim to undo the damages caused by the war on drugs, particularly for communities of colour. Biden emphasized the need to eliminate jail time for drug possession crimes and provide mandatory rehabilitation as an alternative solution.

“No one should be going to jail for drug crime. Period. Nobody. Nobody,” Biden said. “No matter what the crime, particularly marijuana which makes no sense for people to go to jail,” he said.

“It costs less to put people in a drug rehabilitation program than it does in jail,” Biden added. “And you have a chance. We’ve got to give people a chance.”

Breakfast Club host Charlamagne tha God asked Biden if he felt strongly about the issue, why did he differentiate between legalizing and decriminalizing weed? The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate replied it’s because cannabis research is lacking. Biden underlined that while cannabis is not a gateway drug — an opinion also stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — we need better understanding of marijuana’s impact on brain development.

“We should wait until the studies are done,” Biden said. “I think science matters.”

Charlamagne suggested America has “decades and decades of studies” from actual cannabis users, which should provide some indication of how cannabis impacts the brain. Biden adopted a joking manner in response.

“Yeah, we do,” Biden said. “I know a lot of weed smokers.”

Though Biden stressed the need for rigorous cannabis research, the offhand remark concerned cannabis advocates like the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). It appeared as though Biden was going back on his word, using personal anecdotes about weed’s long-term neurocognitive impact to guide policy.

“It is irresponsible for any policymaker to make decisions on the basis of anecdotal evidence,” MPP deputy director Matthew Schweich told The Fresh Toast. “We call on both President Trump and Vice President Biden to listen to the American people and take firm positions in support of comprehensive federal marijuana reform,” Schweich said.


The, a U.S. lifestyle site that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.

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