Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his vice presidential running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) discussed marijuana decriminalization and other drug policy reforms during their first joint interview as a ticket this weekend.
Harris was pressed on her prosecutorial record, specifically as it concerns her previous call for more law enforcement officers in the streets. She talked about policing reform but went on to state that, under a Biden administration, there will be a “policy that is going to be about decriminalizing marijuana.”
This is the first time since Biden and Harris were formally nominated last week that they’ve addressed drug policy reform, and it’s notable that the senator opted to call for “decriminalization” rather than legalization. While Harris evolved on the issue to the point where she introduced a bill last year to federally deschedule and legalize marijuana, Biden remains opposed to the broad policy change.
The former vice president has instead put forward proposals to decriminalize cannabis possession, legalize medical marijuana, expunge prior convictions and let states set their own policies.
During the ABC News interview, Biden also said “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.” He also said that those individuals “should be going into mandatory drug treatment, that’s why I set up drug courts.”