Joe Biden: Drug War President 2016? Marijuana Reform Could Take a Step Back


Update: It is looking more and more likely that Joe Biden will enter the 2016 presidential race.

Any presidential ambitions Joe Biden may harbor should remain in port.

During a discussion of Joe Biden’s possible presidential run on CNN the anchor mentioned his “popularity with young people.” Why on earth should this drug war dinosaur be popular with youth? Or with any Democrat?

Quite probably, few know anything about Joe Biden’s huge role in America’s drug war quagmire. He has been perhaps the most active and effective drug war advocate for decades, and has done much damage to democracy. Working and voting closely with the most authoritarian republicans, he played a central role in crafting a dozen draconian laws across the years. Asset forfeitures, mandatory minimums, “conspiracy” prosecutions have since filled newly-built American prisons. In great part due to Joe Biden’s votes and actions, the USA went from land of the free to being the world’s incarceration nation.

Joe Biden was instrumental in creating the office of Drug Czar.

An actual cabinet post during the craziest days of the drug war, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is now demoted but still actively lying to the American people. By charter, the drug czar is ordered to lie about the medical value of marijuana and insist their is none, even in the face of mountainous evidence to the contrary. For decades it has provided bully pulpit to a succession of, well, bullies. This sorry list includes:

  • William Bennett – Moral authority and gambling addict who advocated zero tolerance and harsh punishments for any drug use (excepting cigarettes and alcohol, of course) and, perhaps anticipating ISIS, beheading drug dealers.
  • Barry McCaffrey – Bill Clinton’s czar advocated taking prescription rights away from physicians who suggested to patients the medical value of cannabis. Also pioneered adding prohibitionist propaganda to American’s television programming.
  • John Walters – George W. Bush’s neocon drug czar fought science and medical marijuana at every opportunity.

Joe Biden created the Rave Act, a low point in American drug war tyranny.

This 2003 legislation violates democratic principles of personal freedom going back to the Magna Carta. The draconian provisions of this horror made event promoters responsible for any consumption of controlled substance at their events, with ruinous penalties and mandatory minimums. Joe Biden seemed with this act, and all his drug war votes, to be totally unconcerned about massive personal rights violations inflicted upon American citizens.

To her shame, the bill was co-sponsored by Hilary Rodham Clinton, along with republican neocons Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, and Strom Thurmond. He also voted with these neocons (as did Hilary) for the disastrous Iraq War. And as it turns out, ecstasy, the drug targeted in the Rave Act (actually titled Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act) turns out to be an excellent psychiatric drug, particularly useful in treating symptoms of PTSD. Perhaps it should have been titled Reducing American’s Vulnerability to Freedom Act.

President Obama’s timid tiptoeing around the whole drug war has been a huge disappointment to millions of Americans.

Nearing the end of his presidency, cannabis is still a Schedule I drug, a federal felony for anyone to possess, and illegal for any researcher to study. Because of his own admitted use of marijuana as a young man, and due to his promises during his first campaign, many of us believed Obama would provide true criminal justice reform, drug war sensibility, and total change to marijuana law. But then he picked drug warrior Joe Biden as his running mate. Many believe Biden’s influence has slowed and stifled the president’s momentum in drug and criminal justice reform.

Watchdog Radley Balko responded to Obama’s poor choice:

Biden has sponsored more damaging drug war legislation than any Democrat in Congress. Hate the way federal prosecutors use RICO laws to take aim at drug offenders? Thank Biden. How about the abomination that is federal asset forfeiture laws? Thank Biden. Think federal prosecutors have too much power in drug cases? Thank Biden. Think the title of a “Drug Czar” is sanctimonious and silly? Thank Biden, who helped create the position (and still considers it an accomplishment worth boasting about).

Writing at Ed Krayewski noted:

That crime bill that makes Joe Biden so great committed $10 billion in federal spending on prisons and $13 billion on local cops. As a senator, Biden also pushed bills escalating the war on ecstasy and other club drugs, expanding asset-forfeiture laws, and making the drug war more awful in any way he could imagine.

So, if you liked the zero-tolerance War on Drugs, militarized police, and support the continued federal felonization of cannabis, Joe Biden will be your Democratic candidate of choice for 2016.  Joe Biden, for Drug War President 2016!  Not!


Interest in cannabis liberation extends back to the 1960s for Don Fitch. Most of his career has been in high tech and preventive health care, endeavors he continues with Well-Being Skills, focused now on ebook publishing. Don has always followed and contributed to efforts for ending marijuana prohibition. An Oregonian whose vision is endangered by glaucoma, Don has benefited from his state’s 1998 medical cannabis law, and his eyesight is fully preserved. Don has been writing about cannabis and well-being since 2008 in his blog, This site explores the bountiful health benefits stemming from the discovery of the endocannabinoid system and increasingly legal medical cannabis. The impact of these discoveries, and the use of marijuana in prevention and treatment, may be as important to health care as were the microelectronic discoveries Don wrote about in the early ’80s were to our on-going technological revolution. His major goal, still frustrated after decades, is to see cannabis down-scheduled from Schedule I at the federal level. For fun, Don flies paragliders and travels.