Biden Says He'll Stick By President in Marijuana Debate

| by Allison Geller

In an interview with TIME magazine about marijuana policy, Vice President Joe Biden affirmed that the Obama administration wouldn’t be wasting resources netting casual pot smokers but emphasized that their policy is "still not legalization.”

“I think the idea of focusing significant resources on interdicting or convicting people for smoking marijuana is a waste of our resources,” Biden told TIME. “That’s different than [legalization]. Our policy for our administration is still not legalization, and that is [and] continues to be our policy.”

Biden pushed the Democratic Party’s war on crime while in the Senate, spearheading legislation on mandatory sentencing for marijuana violations and the creation of the federal “drug czar,” the head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy who controls propaganda on the war on drugs.

“I am not only the guy who did the crime bill and the drug czar, but I’m also the guy who spent years when I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee and chairman of [the Senate Foreign Relations Committee] trying to change drug policy relative to cocaine, for example, crack and powder,” Biden said in the interview, which will be published in parts over the next few days.

Biden called marijuana a “gateway drug” and said it would be “a mistake to legalize” in a 2010 interview with ABC. His stance hasn’t wavered much since. Biden told TIME that he would “support the President’s decision” about legalization — to leave that decision to Congress.

Just this week, deputy “drug czar” Michael Botticelli admitted that pot was safer than alcohol in a head-to-head with Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly. Administration officials continue to be divided over how stringently to enforce federal marijuana laws in a new era of more lenient state laws.

Sources: TIMEABC