Jayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition'

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

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalBand Portugal. The Man to join Sanders at campaign event in Tacoma Bloomberg builds momentum on Capitol Hill with new endorsements House Democrats' immigration bill would use tax dollars to import crime to America MORE (D-Wash.) hit back at Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg campaign claims 'irregularities' in Nevada caucuses Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll 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.

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“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. 

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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 Ann WarrenPoll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll Sanders has wide leads in two of three battleground states: survey MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Buttigieg campaign claims 'irregularities' in Nevada caucuses Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisClyburn: Biden 'suffered' from not doing 'enough' in early debates Sanders is a risk, not a winner House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime MORE (D-Calif.) have all stated that they would legalize marijuana on a federal level.

Other candidates, such as businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangYang calls on someone to 'pull an Andrew Yang' and bow out of 2020 race Yang criticizes caucus voting method, says they don't encourage high voter turnout Nevada caucuses open with a few hiccups 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.