Marijuana Policy Project

Biden and Sanders Task Force Calls for Marijuana Decriminalization

Democratic hopefuls Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders during a debate. They recommend to "decriminalize marijuana use and legalize marijuana for medical purposes at the federal level."

Sen. Bernie Sanders apparently was not able to convince Joe Biden that marijuana legalization is preferable to decriminalization. That's clear in the newly released 110-page "Biden-Sanders Task Force Recommendations."

In the Criminalal Justice Unity Task Force Recommendations section of the report, under the subhead "Fair Sentencing & Reducing Incarceration," it reads on page 58:

Marijuana: Decriminalize marijuana use and legalize marijuana for medical purposes at the federal level. Allow states to make their own decisions about legalizing recreational use. Automatically expunge all past marijuana convictions for use and possession. Lift budget rider blocking DC from taxing and regulating legal marijuana and remove marijuana use from the list of deportable offenses. Encourage states to invest tax revenue from legal marijuana industries to repair damage to Black and brown communities hit hardest by incarceration.

Biden, who will be the likely Democratic nominee to face Donald Trump in November, opposes legalization and favors research before decrim can evolve into full legalization.

Last November, Biden got into hot water when he stated: "It is not irrational to do more scientific investigation to determine, which we have not done significantly enough, whether or not there are any thing that relate to whether it's a gateway drug or not."

Nine days later, he retracted that statement, saying: "I don't think it is a gateway drug. There's no evidence I've seen to suggest that."

Then in February, Biden commented, "I think it is at the point where it has to be, basically, legalized."

But that's not what the Biden-Sanders Task Force recommendation on marijuana says.

Sanders, on the other hand, supports removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. Biden is in favor of rescheduling, not descheduling. Marijuana is currently listed as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has "a high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." There are four other less restrictive schedules.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.