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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

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.