Jayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition'

Jayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition'
© Keren Carrion

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalExpanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate Democrats press OSHA official on issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard MORE (D-Wash.) hit back at Joe BidenJoe BidenDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points Biden: 'We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us' MORE after the former vice president said he wouldn’t legalize marijuana on a federal level if elected president due to concerns that it could be a "gateway drug," leading to the use of harder, more addictive substances.

“It is not,” Jayapal tweeted in response to Hill tweet containing the article with Biden’s comments on Monday.

“Prohibition is a gateway to racist policing practices and mass incarceration, though,” she added.

While speaking at town hall in Las Vegas over the weekend, Biden defended his reasoning for not supporting the legalization of marijuana on a federal level, arguing that more research needs to be done over its potential adverse affects.


“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 Saturday, according to Business Insider. “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.”

The former vice president also said at the town hall that states should be the ones to decide whether or not to legalize the substance, but added that he supports medical marijuana and maintained that possession of the drug should not be considered a crime.

Under his previously released criminal justice reform plan, Biden proposed decriminalizing marijuana to combat mass incarceration and allow for more research. 


A number of Biden’s top 2020 rivals have come out in support of legalizing marijuana and effectively removing it from the Drug Enforcement Administration's list of controlled substances. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance alongside heroin or lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. 

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: Trump ratchets up Twitter turmoil Hillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues Warren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersExpanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support The battle of two Cubas Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Ro Khanna MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisStates respond with force amid another night of protests Protesters knock down White House security barricades as tensions mount over Floyd's death The Memo: Trump ratchets up Twitter turmoil MORE (D-Calif.) have all stated that they would legalize marijuana on a federal level.

Other candidates, such as businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangAndrew Yang discusses his universal basic income pilot program Andrew Yang on the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis McConnell challenger on how Yang endorsement could help him MORE, have also voiced support for marijuana legalization across the country. Yang, in particular, has also proposed taking it one step further, saying he would also decriminalize opiates for personal use.