“Science matters,” Biden said in rethinking his latest, somewhat fluid stance on cannabis
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has been repeatedly pressed regarding his stance on legalizing cannabis federally in the U.S., particularly given that most of the democratic nominee hopefuls wholeheartedly support the move. After initially implying that cannabis might be a gateway drug back in November, Biden quickly backtracked the next day.
In 2010, when he was still U.S. vice-president, he was strongly opposed to legalization and firmly believed it would lead to heavier drugs.
When faced with the question yet again on Friday, he told The New York Times’ editorial board that he wants to hear more from the experts before making up his mind on legality. “Because I think science matters,” he said. “I mean, one of the reasons I’m running against the guy I’m running against is science matters, not fiction,” he said.
“So we should just study it and decriminalize it, but study it and find out. Get the medical community to come up with a final definitive answer as to whether or not it does cause it. If it does cause other problems, then make it clear to people,” Biden said.
Asked if he would support efforts to study the drug and legalize it federally if they occurred at the same time, the former vice-president said he would not, because the science might prove that to be a bad idea. “You’ve got to find out the facts first.”
Biden stressed that while he hasn’t called for legalization, he does support decriminalization and clearing the records of people negatively impacted by the war on marijuana.
“Let’s get something straight here: I’ve argued for some time total decriminalization,” he said. “Anyone who has a record, it should be immediately expunged. So when you come to work for The New York Times, and they ask you if you have any problems, any criminal arrests, you don’t have to say yes, because it will be completely expunged.”
Even though over a dozen U.S. states have given cannabis the green light for recreational use, the government’s reluctance to do the same at the federal level has created a legal limbo that has left many fearful of the repercussions of use, particularly vulnerable populations who could lose benefits or employment opportunities as a result.
Written by David Yasvinski