Biden Tries to Clean up Cannabis “Gateway Drug” Comments

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Image: Matt Smith Photographer / Shutterstock.com

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has weighed in on cannabis for the second consecutive week. In an attempt to clean up comments he made last week that suggested cannabis could be a “gateway drug,” the former vice president said Monday that the intent of his initial comments was lost in the haze.

“I don’t think it is a gateway drug,” Biden said in a conference call with reporters according to MSN. “There’s no evidence I’ve seen to suggest that.”

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Biden stressed that he never said cannabis is a gateway drug, only that “some say” it is. So he basically is using the same “people are saying” argument we’ve heard from other leaders. Which, in the age of digital connectivity, is the ultimate scapegoatsomebody is always “saying” something, like the world is flat, for instance. 

Biden did stress that cannabis should be decriminalized and that individuals with cannabis convictions should have their records “wiped totally clean, completely clean.” But it is difficult to determine exactly what the man really thinks about cannabis as he’s been all over the map about the issue. In a recent Democratic party debate, Biden suggested cannabis possession charges should be classified as misdemeanors. In some jurisdictions, this could mean jail time as well as a significant blemish on an individual’s criminal record. 

Biden also attempted to use the scientific community as a cover for his comments. 

“There are serious medical folks who say we should study it more,” Biden told reporters according to Vice. “Not that we should make it illegal, that we should be in a position where we criminalize it, but that we should look at it.”

It was a rough week in between cannabis comments for Biden. Digging up the debunked cannabis gateway theory, or attempting to toe the line between maybe it will or maybe it won’t lead to harder drug use, did not exactly alter the narrative for many that Biden is out of touch and lacking new ideas.

At a Democratic party debate last week Senator Cory Booker mocked Biden’s comments on cannabis. “This week I hear him literally say that ‘I don’t think we should legalize marijuana,'” said Booker. “I thought [he] might have been high when [he] said it.”

In the past, before just about everything was documented, perhaps damage control for Biden would be more effective, but ultimately, it is difficult for Biden to distance himself from Biden.

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