Presidential Nominee and former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, calls for "mandatory rehabilitation" for anyone found guilty of a drug-related crime.
Joe Biden, the Democratic Party front-runner for President, and former Vice President under Barack Obama recently headed to Kenosha, Wisconsin, following a recent shooting incident.
While there, Biden held a campaign event, in which he spoke about his proposed drug policies should he become elected President:
"Anybody who gets convicted of a drug crime—not one that is in terms of massive selling, but consumption—they shouldn't go to prison. They should go to mandatory rehabilitation. Instead of building more prisons, as I've been proposing for some time, we build rehabilitation centers."
As we've covered throughout the 2020 election, Biden's stance on cannabis has shifted throughout his campaign. He has previously expressed fears surrounding the 'gateway theory' of cannabis legalization, which has since progressed to his 'Plan for Black America' in which Biden stated he would:
"decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions, and end all incarceration for drug use alone and instead divert individuals to drug courts and treatment."
While it's currently unclear whether Biden's "mandatory rehabilitation" will also apply to cannabis possession, which is currently legal for recreational purposes in 11 U.S. states, Biden previously floated this idea of shifting to a health-focused response to drug use as opposed to a punitive response several weeks ago:
"We're going to make sure that we change the entire system in the way in which we deal with, with criminal justice from punishment to rehabilitate, no one should be going to jail because they have a drug addiction. They should be going into mandatory drug treatment that's why I set up drug courts."
Elaborating upon his recent "mandatory rehabilitation" policy, Biden continued to say in Kenosha that drug users would "go to mandatory rehab, but it's not part of the record when they get out if they finish it," suggesting that the drug users who successfully complete rehabilitation will not have their drug possession kept on their criminal record.
The concept of "mandatory rehabilitation" wasn't mentioned in Biden's Plan for Black America, which includes his plans to decriminalize cannabis, though it's conceivable that forced rehab could fit within Biden's decriminalization policy. However, it's not yet clear precisely what the ramifications would be should a drug possessor refuse to attend rehab, and so perhaps criminal penalties may still loom around the possession of cannabis.
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