Joe Biden says he'll decriminalize cannabis if elected president

May 5 2020, 1:26 pm

Former Vice President Joe Biden released the “Biden Plan For Black America” on Tuesday, and he’s included his intention to decriminalize cannabis as part of it.

Meant to give African Americans a “fair shot at the American Dream” by combating “entrenched disparities,” the large document spares a few lines for cannabis when it comes to dealing with sentencing reform in the criminal justice system.

According to the plan, Biden will work with Congress to reform federal sentencing and provide incentives to state and local systems to do the same.

“He will end, once and for all, the federal crack and powder cocaine disparity, 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,” the section about cannabis reads, adding, “He will work to eliminate mandatory minimums and the death penalty.”

Biden is currently the presumptive nominee for the US’s Democratic Party. While the party has struggled to complete their primary alongside the restrictions faced during the coronavirus pandemic, Biden expected to run against Donald Trump for the presidency in November.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), cannabis arrests make up over half of all drug arrests in the US (52% in 2010). From 2001 to 2010, 8.2 million of those arrests related to cannabis.

“Nationwide, the arrest data revealed one consistent trend: significant racial bias. Despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana,” the organization said on its website.