At a Las Vegas, Nevada town hall event on Saturday, former vice president and current 2020 Democratic hopeful Joe Biden told a crowd of supporters that he’s still not ready to legalize marijuana on a federal level, citing the lack of sufficient evidence to prove that it’s not a gateway drug.
According to Business Insider, the question on whether or not Biden would legalize the drug, should he win the presidency in 2020, comes at a time when most of his 2020 Democratic opponents fully support the national legalization of marijuana, which matches a growing number of states making the drug medically legal and cleared for recreational use.
“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.
“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.”
Biden did make it clear that he backs the usage of marijuana in medical cases, and he also stated that marijuana laws should be a state-level decision. Though he’s not ready to make it legal on a federal level, he also remarked that he doesn’t think possessing the drug should equal a crime.
The former vice president is banking on science to eventually determine whether or not the substance can lead someone to use harder 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 at the event.
As part of his criminal justice reform rollout today, Joe Biden’s campaign confirms he would not support legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Makes him an outlier in the Dem primary pic.twitter.com/FwmQzye404— Rebecca Buck (@RebeccaBuck) July 23, 2019
As Business Insider reported, Biden’s campaign has at least partially focused on reformed policies for the criminal justice system to fix “the racial, gender, and income-based disparities in the system.” His plan includes the possible expunging of the records of people previously convicted of non-violent, marijuana-related crimes.
Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse concluded that marijuana usage doesn’t lead to hard drug use and points out that drug use can be triggered by a variety of factors. A 1999 study from the Institute of Medicine also said that while marijuana “does not appear” to be a predictor of whether or not an individual will graduate to harder drug use.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, several of Biden’s opponents, who happen to be U.S. senators, have already co-sponsored legislation that would remove marijuana from the government’s Schedule I list of illegal drugs and it would include expunging records of those with marijuana-related crimes. The bill will also create a fund to offer support for American communities who were hardest hit by the government’s War on Drugs.