About one week after former Vice President Joe Biden said he opposed legalization in part because marijuana might be a gateway drug, the Democratic presidential candidate is now saying research doesn't support that position.
In a call with reporters on Monday, the Nevada Independent's Megan Messerly asked Biden whether he was wrong about suggesting that cannabis was a gateway to harder drugs at an earlier town hall event in Las Vegas.
Biden denied that he made the claim, stating “I didn't. I said some say pot was a gateway drug.” He added that he supports decriminalizing cannabis, expunging prior records, releasing those incarcerated for marijuana offenses and rescheduling the plant.
Here's @JoeBiden's full answer to me on whether he was wrong to suggest pot might be a gateway drug at a recent Las Vegas town hall.
"I don't think it is a gateway drug. There's no evidence I've seen that suggests that," he said. pic.twitter.com/DJzM7LutRy
— Megan Messerly (@meganmesserly) November 25, 2019
“That has been my position and continues to be my position,” he said.
“With regard to the total legalization of it, there are some in the medical community who say it needs to be made a Schedule II drug so there can be research studies, as not whether it is a gateway drug but whether or not it, when used in other combinations, may have a negative impact on people overcoming other problems, including in fact on young people in terms of brain development — a whole range of things that are beyond my expertise. There are serious medical folks who say we should study it more. Not that we should make it illegal, that we should be in a position where we criminalize it but where we should look at it.”
“But I don't think it is a gateway drug,” he said. “There's no evidence I've seen to suggest that.”
Listen to Joe Biden's new marijuana comments below:
This is different from what the former vice president said just last week. At the town hall, Biden said “there's not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug.”
“It's a debate, and I want a lot more before I legalize it nationally,” he said. “I want to make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it.”
Shortly after he made the gateway drug remarks, numerous high-profile lawmakers criticized Biden for his “gateway drug” remark.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), for example, described the former vice president's remarks as a “Reagan-era talking point.”
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), who are also presidential candidates, seemed to criticize Biden shortly after reports of the comments surfaced, implicitly contrasting their comprehensive legalization proposals with the former vice president's stance.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who is also running for the Democratic nomination, accurately predicted that Biden's position would shift.
The criticism over Biden's comments culminated during last week's presidential debate, where Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) proactively called out the former official for opposing cannabis legalization when it's “already legal for privileged people, and the war on drugs has been a war on black and brown people.”
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 21, 2019
Feature image by Matt Smith/Shutterstock. Audio courtesy of KUNR Public Radio.
This article has been republished from Marijuana Moment under a content-sharing agreement. Read the original article here.