It doesn’t matter what Biden says. He obediently trotted over to Latin America because they demanded a discussion about legalization. And he had no choice – if he didn’t do it now, Obama would have to face the discussion himself when he visits. Nothing can now change the fact that the Vice President of the United States has flown to Mexico and Central America to discuss legalization of drugs.
Despite Biden’s emphatic rejection of moves toward legalization, analysts of counter-drug policy say policymakers in Washington may no longer be able to halt demand for broader discussions.
“What’s clear is that for the U.S. to continue to say, ‘There is no debate and discussion to be had. It’s a settled matter’ â€” that won’t fly anymore,” said John Walsh, drug policy program coordinator at the Washington Office on Latin America, a social justice and human rights advocacy group.
Demands to address failures in U.S.-designed counter-drug policies have been stimulated, ironically, by the posture of Washington’s closest ally in the region â€” President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, who said last fall that he would welcome discussion about legalization but would be “crucified” if he led the charge.
So, yes, while Biden shot down legalization, he added legitimacy to it.
Biden, on a two-day swing to Mexico and Central America, said a sour mood over violence from powerful narcotics mafias has led to a desire in some corners of Latin America to debate legalization.
“It warrants a discussion. It’s totally legitimate for this to be raised,” Biden said, adding that he’d spent “thousands of hours” at Senate hearings over the issue.
He’s spent thousands of hours at Senate hearings over legalization? Right. I’d be willing to bet he’s spent thousands of hours at Senate hearing figuring out more ways to incarcerate people for drug crimes, but probably the only discussions related to legalization involved asking if there’s a way to jail people who advocate legalization.