Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, a Democratic White House hopeful, said Saturday he will not federally legalize marijuana if he becomes president because there isn’t “enough evidence” against it being a “gateway drug.”
“The truth of the matter is, there’s not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug,” Mr. Biden said during a Las Vegas town hall, according to Business Insider.
“It’s a debate, and I want a lot more before I legalize it nationally. I want to make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it,” he said.
Mr. Biden has repeatedly shared support for medical marijuana and ending arrests for possessing cannabis, but he said the individual “states should be able to make a judgment to legalize marijuana.”
Mr. Biden said he would change the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug — which the Drug Enforcement Administration labels as “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”— and change it to Schedule II to make researching its effects easier.
“It is not irrational to do more scientific investigation to determine, which we have not done significantly enough, whether or not there are any things that relate to whether it’s a gateway drug or not.”
Several of Mr. Biden’s presidential primary competitors — including Sens. Cory A. Booker of New Jersey, Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — have all said they will legalize marijuana.