Biden Weighs Pros and Cons of Legalizing Weed

Biden Weighs Pros and Cons of Legalizing Weed

JOE BIDEN IS MOSTLY REMEMBERED FOR HIS ROLE IN THE 2008 ELECTION, where he served as Barack Obama’s running mate or his time as vice president to Obama, but the former senator of Delaware has had an illustrious career spanning many decades. Biden began his political career in 1972 when he was elected to the Senate at age 29; after 28 years and 30 terms in office, he left in January 2017 as the fourth-longest-serving senator in the U.S.

The pros:

Former Vice President Joe Biden has not publicly said whether he supports the legalization of cannabis. However, a report released by Yahoo News earlier this month offered an overview of his stance on the subject. His current belief is that marijuana should be available for medical purposes but also be regulated and taxed like cigarettes and alcohol. On the other hand, in a video uploaded to YouTube last April and recently re-released, Biden was asked about how he would react if New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy legalized weed within his state’s borders. I believe we should move to legalize marijuana as quickly as possible, he responded while giving a thumbs up.

Pushing forward in the fight against cancer

Biden’s latest remarks come as federal authorities and state-level legislators across the nation are considering a slate of marijuana reforms, including the legalization of the drug. Multiple public polls have shown majority support for legalizing weed. Despite widespread public backing, Biden said he’s still not on board with it. The vice president supports increased federal funding for research into the medicinal benefits of cannabis and laws that allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in states where it is legal. But on the prospect of legalizing weed nationally, he remains unconvinced.

I do not believe that we should decriminalize it, Biden said. I do not believe we should legalize it. Still, he predicted society will be weighing marijuana legalization in 10 years. His prediction has come true before: In 1999, while running for president, Biden said he thought support for medical marijuana would build over time to compel lawmakers to consider legalizing weed in a decade or so.

I’ve never smoked marijuana, Biden confessed Thursday. But if it were legalized nationally, how much would it cost? he wondered aloud. He imagined Americans sneaking over to Canada where recreational use is legal and buying three or four ounces from one of those government-run shops over there—and bringing them back into states where weed remains illegal under federal law.

Will it create more challenges?

Biden’s reluctance to legalize marijuana illustrates the often-competing impulses of mainstream, moderate and progressive Democrats. They risk alienating some of their supporters who advocate for reforms, while also risking backlash from skeptics who worry that marijuana is a gateway drug.

Legalizing pot would be a huge shift in criminal justice policy, as well as reshape the nation’s labor market and economy. Those were among Biden’s chief concerns in his public remarks this week. There are ways that we can do it that are more challenging than others, he said when asked whether he would push for legalizing weed if elected president.

Though he demurred when asked about his plans for marijuana policy, Biden seemed to relish weighing arguments from both sides. There are a lot of things that can be done legislatively on it, he said, calling it a more complex issue than many people know. And as far as I’m concerned there should be available for anybody who’s sick,

anybody who’s suffering. But there are some people I just met with …who have legitimate concerns about wanting to make sure kids don’t get their hands on it. So I think we should look at what those strategies can be that deal with everyone’s concerns and try to figure out how we make sure that if any drug is legalized in any state legally — how do you block it?

How do you plan on dealing with it?

Biden weighed the pros and cons of legalizing weed. Pros: It would bring in $300 million in new tax revenue annually. Legalizing weed would also decrease incarceration rates and homelessness,

as marijuana is a much less addictive drug than opioids, methamphetamine, cocaine, and alcohol. Legalizing it might lower opioid overdose deaths by more than 33% by 2020. Finally, legalization could solve the opioid crisis because cannabis is an effective treatment for opioid addiction and cravings.

Should we let our kids smoke weed?

If we legalize weed, it’ll be easier for our kids to have access to the drug. The White House has not yet shown a clear stance on whether or not it will promote this law but if they do, what are the pros and cons of legalizing weed?

A legal market could generate upwards of $132 billion annually in tax revenue. It could also make marijuana less appealing to children and reduce the number of illegal drug deals. Cons:

This might encourage more people to smoke pot which is still bad for your lungs and can be addicting. Legalizing weed might complicate international relations with other countries that consider cannabis illegal – like Afghanistan which produces a lot of poppy – and we want an open dialogue with them on important matters.

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