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Joe Biden speaks in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Nov. 2. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

2020 candidate Joe Biden said Saturday there would need to be more research into marijuana's effects before he'd ever federally legalize the drug as president, in order to rule out whether it's a "gateway drug."

The big picture: Several 2020 candidates have proposed to end the war on drugs and legalize marijuana. When Biden was vice president, he supported decriminalization rather than legalization.

There’s not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug."

Details: Biden said during a town hall in Las Vegas that states "should be able to make a judgment" on whether to legalize marijuana.

  • He said he supports medical marijuana and that possession of the drug "should not be a crime."

What they're saying: The National Institute on Drug Abuse says in a blog post that "some research suggests that marijuana use is likely to precede use of other licit and illicit substances." However, most marijuana users "do not go on to use other, 'harder' substances," it states.

Watch Biden speak at the town hall below.

  • His marijuana remarks occur at about 36:30.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Pelosi calls raising the debt ceiling a bipartisan responsibility

Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a "dear colleague" statement Sunday evening, calling on Congress to act in a bipartisan manner to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

Why it matters: Congress is fast approaching an October deadline to raise the nation's debt ceiling and avoid a government shutdown. But the issue has become a thorny partisan stand-off.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Beto not even best Dem against Abbott

Beto O'Rourke speaks at a rally at the Texas State Capitol in June. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Actor Matthew McConaughey’s nine-point lead in a theoretical matchup against Greg Abbott shows just how vulnerable the hard-right Texas governor could be in a general election.

Why it matters: Abbott has won conservative accolades for his abortion, mask and vaccine bans. Axios reported Sunday that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to announce a gubernatorial challenge — but a recent poll shows he’s not even the most popular Democrat in the state.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Delayed maps upend midterm campaigns

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Midterm candidates are panicking about how the congressional maps will ultimately be drawn, with several strategists telling Axios campaigns are in limbo.

Why it matters: Candidates are unsure if the district they're targeting will remain intact or be reshaped by the process. The uncertainty is especially vexing to Democrats, who are vying to maintain their narrow margin in the House.