I’m struggling mightily, with my six final brain cells, to understand what theoretical voter Joe Biden hopes to sway by stating that he wouldn’t back the national legalization of cannabis. “There’s not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug,” he said at a town hall in Las Vegas Saturday.
Who wants to hear this, Joe? Who??
As of this year, 33 states and Washington, D.C., have some legalized marijuana in one way or another. At this point, the failure to end prohibition and enact regulation across the country is just plain confusing (it’s also a major factor in the availability and use of dangerous black-market THC vape cartridges). Not only is Biden once again stammering his way through a 1980s-era understanding of a policy issue, he’s disagreeing with 67 percent of Americans.
I’m happy to assure him and any other Democrat in the race that when someone in the crowd wants to hear where they stand on marijuana, that person is probably wondering when the hell a dispensary will open up nearby, not seeking assurance of a continued police war on low-level dealers.
Biden can’t even make this position consistent with his own thinking, since he also believes possession of cannabis “should not be a crime.” Gee, I wonder how one goes about making something not a crime? Or… to put it another way… “legal”? If only a guy who spent 36 years in the U.S. Senate had some idea!
But, okay, let’s break down his hesitancy a bit: Although individual states should, according to Biden, feel free to green-light everything up to and including purely recreational pot, he feels that we need to “know a lot more about the science” of its effects. In fact, every proponent of legalization believes this. Still, the current research gives no hard evidence to support the “gateway drug” hypothesis taught to a generation of D.A.R.E. students. The new anti-weed crusaders, meanwhile, are crackpots who genuinely believe that the drug can turn you into a violent psychopath, so yes, it would be nice to put that fear-mongering to rest with more data.
What a shame, then, to learn that study in this area is heavily restricted, all because the federal government has classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance. It’s a roadblock that keeps patients who want to try cannabis on opioids instead.
At the most basic level, Biden should at least be able to tell which way the wind is blowing. The weed industry is here to stay, his own party overwhelmingly approves, and there’s no discernible advantage to throwing yourself in front of a speeding train. His mealy-mouthed equivocation is as applicable to the real world as ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ empty promise to crack down on legal distributors. The stoners won, y’all. Either hit the bong or move along.