Jayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana ‘prohibition’
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) hit back at Joe Biden 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.
It is not.
Prohibition is a gateway to racist policing practices and mass incarceration, though.https://t.co/2l5fI46Ydu
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) November 18, 2019
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 Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) have all stated that they would legalize marijuana on a federal level.
Other candidates, such as businessman Andrew Yang, 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.