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What the upcoming Biden administration is looking to do with marijuana is decriminalize it nationwide. Although details are not yet available, the plan will likely serve to eliminate the criminal penalties for those caught possessing small amounts of weed and ensure that none of these people are being incarcerated.
It will probably take it a step further by allowing those with minor pot convictions to have their criminal records expunged.
The measure would not legalize marijuana at the federal level, there wouldn’t be a retail system in place and the rules would it apply to any other drug. That means if a person gets caught with small amounts of heroin, chances are they are going to be arrested and charged with a felony, that person is caught in Oregon.
Biden, who is against legalization and has said in past he believed pot was a gateway drug, now thinks the country should give consumers the benefit of the doubt. Still, he wants them to continue answering to their indiscretions to some degree, such as attending mandatory drug rehab if they are caught.
“I don’t believe anybody should be going to jail for drug use. They should be going into mandatory rehabilitation,” Biden said earlier this year. “We should be building rehab centers to have these people housed.”
Some officials believe decriminalization only makes the drug problem worse, and that without harsh penalties, more people will use drugs recreationally and could become full-blown addicts. But that hasn’t been the case in places that have implemented this policy.
Portugal decriminalized the possession of all illegal drugs in 2001, and the country still isn’t having the problems it once had. Instead, HIV-infections and drug-related deaths are down, and drug use has not suffered an increase. In fact, Portugal’s drug-use rates are well below the European average.
Written by Angela Stelmakowich.
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