Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took a subtle swipe at Joe Biden (D) over his skepticism of legalizing marijuana at the federal level, contending “marijuana should be legalized” and drug consumption “decriminalized” while calling them “matters of public health.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) came under fire over the weekend after expressing skepticism for legalizing marijuana on a federal level during a town hall meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, adding there has “not nearly been enough evidence” to determine if it acts as 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,” Biden stated.
“It’s a debate, and I want a lot more before I legalize it nationally,” he continued. “I want to make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it.”
Biden did not wince at the thought of leaving it as a decision for individual states and added “possession of the substance ‘should not be a crime,'” according to Business Insider.
Still, the presidential hopeful stressed the importance of more scientific research to determine “whether or not there are any things that relate to whether it’s a gateway drug or not.”
Ocasio-Cortez, a staunch support of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), took a veiled swipe at the former vice president, writing on Twitter that marijuana “should be legalized” following his remarks:
Marijuana should be legalized, and drug consumption should be decriminalized.
These are matters of public health.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 18, 2019
The freshman Democrat’s nominee, Sanders, also used the opportunity to tout his own plan to legalize marijuana.
“The criminalization of marijuana has been a disaster. We are going to legalize it, expunge past convictions and invest in communities of color that have been devastated by the War on Drugs,” he wrote:
The criminalization of marijuana has been a disaster. We are going to legalize it, expunge past convictions and invest in communities of color that have been devastated by the War on Drugs. https://t.co/0xQSHn6F3U
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 17, 2019
Sanders unveiled a massive proposal to decriminalize marijuana in October, promising to do so via executive action within his first 100 days in office. He also vowed to “expunge past convictions of marijuana related offenses, and ensure that victims of the War on Drugs are not passed over by the burgeoning marijuana industry.”
Additionally, Sanders promised to reinvest in communities most impacted by the “War on Drugs.” He said he will do that, in part, by creating a $10 billion federal program to help former convicts work in the marijuana industry.
Per his plan, the program will “help disproportionately impacted areas and individuals who have been arrested for or convicted of marijuana offenses start urban and rural farms and urban and rural marijuana growing operations to ensure people impacted by the war on drugs have access to the entire marijuana industry.”
The federal programs will “provide formerly incarcerated individuals with training and resources needed to start their own businesses and worker owned businesses, and guarantee jobs and free job training at trade schools and apprenticeship programs related to marijuana businesses,” according to his proposal.