On Wednesday, Joe Biden received a family blessing: they support the former vice president entering the ring of presidential candidates. This brings Biden one step closer to making a critical decision about running, recently stating he is now “very close” to choosing.
But what would Biden be like if he ran and eventually won? Compared to most candidates in the fray, his record on the war on drugs is frankly alarming. In fact, he was one of the original framers of the drug war, and it appears that little has changed.
Founder of the War on Drugs
Typically, the war on drugs leads one to think of Nixon and Reagan, but they weren’t the only ones involved. Most people involved in the drug crackdown of the 1970s and 80s have retired, but Joe Biden remains as a governing architect of the initiative that still has nearly half of a million peaceful people behind bars.
A top Nixon aide has directly admitted that the Drug War really just was a way to attack Nixon’s “two enemies: the antiwar left and black people”. Since then, it has ruined the lives of millions of people, with 700,000 arrests in the past year alone exclusively for marijuana charges. Nonetheless, Biden refuses to condemn the war on drugs, instead having a stricter drug policy than any prominent Democrats and quite a few Republicans.
Mandatory Mass Incarceration
Biden’s influence over drug policy began in the 1980s when he became the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. While serving, he personally authored a number of bills that tangibly harmed Americans, particularly African Americans. In 1982, he created the idea of a “Drug Czar” to control drugs and ensure punishment for users. The very thought is more Soviet-esque than anything in politics today, but seven years later, it came into reality.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy formed in 1989 and right away began expanding incarcerations. Seven years later, in 1996, Biden personally voted for the organization to launch a propaganda measure towards American citizens. This law required the Drug Czar to block any funds from going towards drug research. And if any research occurred anyways and found beneficial results? The office was required by law to take any necessary actions to still oppose the medical use of Schedule 1 drugs.
In other words, the government had to censor out any news that gave drugs a positive light. Biden personally supported this, even though it prevented countless people from receiving medical drug treatments that we now know as beneficial.
Racist Crack/Powder Policy
One of Biden’s most well-known pieces of legislation is the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The bill created what is infamously known as the 100:1 policy: mandatory sentencing began for crack cocaine at 1/100th of the weight of powder cocaine. The issue here: minorities predominantly used crack cocaine.
There is no practical justification for this measure and there are clear racist undertones. This is especially prevalent since the CIA-Contra-Crack controversy came to light. This release suggested that the CIA had a major role in crack cocaine ending up in the streets of Los Angeles.
The same law increased policing in many minority neighborhoods. A vote for this bill is a vote against human freedom, but drafting it goes one step further. In many ways, Biden is personally responsible for the harm that has come to families, minorities in particular, who have seen direct harm as a result of this racist bill.
Joe Biden on Marijuana Today
Kind Uncle Joe remains one of the last prominent Democrats to oppose marijuana legalization. He has never supported the measure, instead insisting that marijuana is a “gateway drug“. In reality, the gate swings both directions, and softer drugs can be incredibly useful in treating people with opioid addictions. Marijuana, in particular, has a proven history of use with opioid addicts.
Despite this, Biden has never once called for legalization in any form. In 2014, he declared that the Obama Administration would not make it a priority.
As evidence grows that other drugs, such as LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin mushrooms, have medical properties, it appears unlikely that Biden would show support for them. Despite their benefits, the drugs are Schedule 1, and Biden sure has a history opposing those.
Though he has stated that he does not want to direct a tremendous amount of money towards marijuana prosecution, one thing is nevertheless certain: Joe Biden was a founder of the War on Drugs and is still far from a friend on drug policy.
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