Joe Biden Says "No One Should Be Going to Jail" For Cannabis Use

In an interview with ABC on the weekend, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris touched on their drug policy, in which the potential leaders of the U.S. hinted at cannabis decriminalization.

In a new interview over the weekend, the U.S. Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, and his Vice Presidential pick Kamala Harris, both sat down with ABC's Robin Roberts to discuss what a Biden/Harris administration might look like.

The interview was the first in which Biden and Harris were interviewed together since Biden announced Harris as his VP pick, and followed the 3-day Democrat National Convention held last week.

As we discussed recently, there was no mention of cannabis at the recent DNC convention, hinting at the possibility that cannabis law reform may take a backseat in a Biden/Harris administration. However, the ABC interview suggests otherwise, with both candidates outlining their desire to enact law reform for drug users.

In the interview, Biden stated:

"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."

The comments affirm Biden's prior statements outlined in his 'Plan for Black America' in which the Presidential candidate stated he would decriminalize cannabis on a federal level in the United States.

Biden's comments were backed up by Harris, who brought up the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests and discussions as part of her justification for wanting to decriminalize marijuana:

"I'm so excited about what we can do in terms of a new administration in the White House. That is about taking on these issues in a way that makes clear that the American people are ready for it and they want it…a policy that is going to be about decriminalizing marijuana. Having a policy that is about looking at having a centralized database in our country that tracks police officers that have been found to break the rules or break the law. These are the kinds of things that need to be in place. Finally."

Together, both candidates' comments helped to solidify the Biden/Harris ticket as the pro-cannabis ticket, as many have perceived them to be.

Though there was some confusion as to what the duo's cannabis policy would be, given that Kamala has previously sponsored the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act (MORE) which seeks to not only legalize cannabis and expunge cannabis-related crimes from records but to also allocate additional funding to people of colour to mitigate the racially disparate impacts of the Drug War.

From the recent interview, it's clear Kamala has become less bullish toward cannabis, having since softened her views to be more in line with Biden's decriminalization stance.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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