Jayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition'

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

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Judiciary Democrat: Trump himself is 'smoking gun' in impeachment case Live coverage: Democrats, Republicans seek to win PR battle in final House impeachment hearing MORE (D-Wash.) hit back at Joe BidenJoe BidenGabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday FBI head rejects claims of Ukrainian 2016 interference 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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 WarrenGabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies On The Money: White House, Dems edge closer to trade deal | GOP worries about Trump concessions | DOJ argues Congress can't sue Trump on emoluments | Former Fed chief Volcker dies UN International Anticorruption Day highlights democracy as a human right MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersLawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal Gabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKrystal Ball: Media turns on Buttigieg, will this end him? Senate Democrats demand Trump fire Stephen Miller The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - A crucial week on impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) have all stated that they would legalize marijuana on a federal level.

Other candidates, such as businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangGabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies Emanuel jokes: 'I'm a new, mellow Rahm' Yang expands campaign with senior hires for digital operations 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.