While the western world has shifted to a more positive stance towards cannabis in recent years, former US Vice President Joe Biden is still worried it’s going to lead people on to harder drugs.
The 76-year-old politician, who is bidding for the Democratic presidential nomination, may have hindered his chance at getting the young people’s vote when he revealed he doesn’t want to legalise weed because he’s concerned it’s a gateway drug.
Speaking to a crowd in Las Vegas, Biden said ‘there’s not been nearly enough evidence’ to say whether weed is or isn’t a gateway drug.
‘It’s a debate, and I want a lot more before I legalise it nationally,’ he said. ‘I want to make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it.’
However, it seems as though Biden is in the minority, as new data from the Pew Research Center says two-thirds of people in the US believe weed should be legal.
Meanwhile, it’s Biden’s own generation who, at just 35%, have the lowest support rates for marijuana legalisation, according to Pew data released earlier this month.
Although his comments don’t entirely rule out legalising the drug, they do set him apart from other presidential candidates such as Bernie Sanders, who was recently backed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Marijuana should be legalized, and drug consumption should be decriminalized.
These are matters of public health.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 18, 2019
‘Marijuana should be legalised, and drug consumption should be decriminalised,’ she tweeted on Sunday. ‘These are matters of public health.’
While cannabis is currently classified as a Schedule 1 substance under federal law in the US, defined by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a drug ‘with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse’, Biden wants to make it Schedule 2, which would mean its benefits and impacts can be studied further.
As per the Washington Post, Biden continued to explain:
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.
Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 11 states, while only four states still prohibit its use in all forms.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.