Joe Biden is the latest Democratic Presidential hopeful to embrace the weed in a run for 2020. The former Vice President and rather handsy dude told voters earlier this week that “Nobody should be in jail for smoking marijuana.”
Whether that meant legalization or decriminalization, he didn’t say at the time. Pretty much anybody who’s been following politics couldn’t help but notice the stark reversal in policy. Biden has, in fact, probably made decisions which have put people in jail for smoking marijuana.
CNN points out that the Obama administration, in which Biden was vice president, “did not move to decriminalize marijuana, reschedule the drug or publicly support automatically expunging of criminal records of marijuana offenses.”
Meanwhile, Leafly went as far as to say that in his decades-long political career “Biden helped create America’s out-of-control civil asset forfeiture system, worked hard to incentivize mass incarceration, pushed to adopt mandatory minimums, and was an early supporter of the militarization of the police.”
So when Biden said he don’t want peeps behind bars for smoking the herb, reporters were like, “Well, what do you mean by that?”
Biden has not answered these questions directly, but a Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates offered CNN a clarification.
“As he said [Tuesday], Vice President Biden does not believe anyone should be in jail simply for smoking or possessing marijuana,” Bates said.” “He supports decriminalizing marijuana and automatically expunging prior criminal records for marijuana possession, so those affected don’t have to figure out how to petition for it or pay for a lawyer.”
Bates said that Biden would also move to make cannabis a Schedule II drug and leave it up to states whether they want to legalize or not.
Many other democrats in the running for the 2020 presidential race have also lent their support for cannabis policy reform at the federal level, including Senator Cory Booker, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Bernie Sanders, and guy Beto O’Rourke.
Photo via Flickr user Mike Nozell