One group in particular has been vocal about its dissatisfaction with Biden as a candidate: marijuana legalization advocates. In a statement sent to Rolling Stone, Erik Altieri, the executive director of the marijuana reform organization NORML, criticized Biden for his “abysmal record when it comes to marijuana law reform, ending our failed war on drugs, and addressing mass incarceration.” “Biden’s views are far out of step with the American public and he holds the worst record on cannabis related policy of any individual currently running for the Democratic or Republican nomination,” Altieri said.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Michael Collins, the director of national affairs at Drug Policy Action, agreed with this perception of Biden, referring to him as “the architect, in all ways, of the war on drugs.” “He embraced the war on drugs. He seized every opportunity he had. He really leaned into escalating it,” he said. Mason Tvert, spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, characterized Biden as “one of the most aggressive drug warriors in Congress” who does not appear to have reversed or even softened his stance on marijuana, despite the majority of the Democratic candidates vocalizing their support for legalization. “He‘s very out of touch on this subject compared to other candidates,” Tvert told Rolling Stone. “Quite frankly, he seems to be a bit more out of step on this issue than President Trump,” who has said that he would sign legislation ensuring states have the right to determine whether or not to legalize marijuana.