Commentary: Biden’s stance on marijuana out of touch, harmful

By Ken Abraham

Wow. He lost my vote! I have known Joe Biden since we both were young lawyers in Delaware in the ‘70s, and I used to think he’d be OK for president, with all the experience he got as Obama’s VP. Not anymore, due to his stance on federal marijuana law!

He says that his concern is that marijuana needs more research because he thinks it is a “gateway drug”. That opinion is ill-informed, outdated and flat-out harmful to many citizens. He says things like: “there has not been nearly enough evidence acquired as to whether or not it’s a gateway drug.” Absurd! Marijuana probably is the most studied drug – legal or illegal — on the planet!

Ken Abraham

At this point we are well aware of some of its significant medicinal benefits, which is why 33 states and D.C. allow medical marijuana! We also know that it damages growing brain cells, so it should not be allowed for minors. I have read literally thousands of reports and articles about marijuana, and there is not one credible report that it is a “gateway drug”. Not one! Yet it is classified by federal law right in there with heroin and other killer drugs! That law is nothing less than insane, and should be changed — the very change Biden says he opposes.

To his credit, Biden says things like “anyone incarcerated for marijuana should be released and criminal records should be expunged of any marijuana charges.” But this, along with his opposition to legalization, just makes him look like an old-time politician, “talking out of both sides of his mouth,” trying to please everyone!

The federal criminalization of pot is a cause of much injustice, and it wreaks havoc with laws and policies in states with legal marijuana. The situation is so crazy that governments are trying to dance around those problems with measures like “Safe Banking Acts”!

And the revenue! Colorado alone now takes in more than a billion dollars annually from taxing marijuana! It has seen more than $6 billion in total sales of cannabis since the birth of the new industry — over $6.5 billion at the end of May, according to just-released monthly data from the state, and created tens of thousands of new jobs. And that is just one state!

Yes, we need more study of the benefits and drawbacks of pot, now greatly hindered by its federal criminalization (research hospitals and universities are afraid their employees may be arrested!), but there is nothing to show that pot is a gateway drug!

Ken Abraham, of Dover, is founder of Citizens for Criminal Justice and former Delaware deputy attorney general.

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