Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE on Monday walked back his previous comments about marijuana’s status as a “gateway drug” while also insisting that he had never made such a claim.
The former vice president told reporters during a press call that marijuana was not a “gateway drug,” or a drug that supposedly leads to the user becoming addicted to other, more powerful substances.
“I don’t think it is a gateway drug. There’s no evidence I’ve seen to suggest that,” Biden said, according to a reporter for The Nevada Independent.
“I didn’t [say that it was],” he added, when asked about his statement about the issue at a recent town hall. “I said some say it’s a gateway drug.”
Here’s @JoeBiden’s full answer to me on whether he was wrong to suggest pot might be a gateway drug at a recent Las Vegas town hall.
“I don’t think it is a gateway drug. There’s no evidence I’ve seen that suggests that,” he said. pic.twitter.com/DJzM7LutRy
— Megan Messerly (@meganmesserly) November 25, 2019
Biden was ambiguous about the issue at a recent town hall in Las Vegas, calling for more research on whether marijuana was 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,” he said earlier this month. “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.”
And in 2010, when asked by ABC News’s George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosPelosi: Presidents should not ‘fuel the flame’ National security adviser defends Trump tweets: The president ‘wants to de-escalate violence’ Sanders pushes back on doubts supporters will back Biden MORE about the issue, Biden was more firm in his belief that marijuana use leads to other drug addictions.
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“I still believe it’s a gateway drug. I’ve spent a lot of my life as chairman of the [Senate] Judiciary Committee dealing with this. I think it would be a mistake to legalize,” Biden said at the time. “The punishment should fit the crime. But I think legalization is a mistake.”
Biden’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.