Robert F. Kennedy Jr. vowed to make major drug reform a reality should his long-shot presidential bid land him in the White House.
In an interview last Thursday, Kennedy, who is challenging President Joe Biden for the 2024 Democratic nomination, said he would change the federal prohibition on cannabis.
“I would decriminalize marijuana on a federal basis and allow the states to regulate it. I would impose a federal tax on it. The revenue generated from this tax would be used to build rehabilitation centers across the country and provide drug rehabilitation programs,” Kennedy said in an interview with ReasonTV, as quoted by Benzinga.
And at a town hall event the day prior, Kennedy elaborated on his vision for drug reform.
“That’s what we need to build here,” Kennedy said, according to Benzinga. “What I would do as president is I would decriminalize marijuana. I will make safe banking laws for people who are selling it, I will tax it federally and I will use that money to build these healing centers in rural areas—depressed rural areas—all over the country, where kids can grow organic food and eat well and heal themselves spiritually, physically and emotionally.”
Kennedy added, “Well, definitely decriminalize psychedelics,” according to the outlet.
Kennedy, the son of the late senator and U.S. attorney general Bobby Kennedy and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential race in April.
He is perhaps best known for his staunch opposition to vaccines.
“For Mr. Kennedy, that cause is vaccine skepticism, which he cloaked in terms of truth-seeking and free speech, a crusade that in the past led him to falsely link childhood vaccines to autism,” The New York Times reported in April at the time of his presidential announcement. “At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, he sought to undermine public trust in vaccines, comparing government efforts to impose mandates in some places to ‘Hitler’s Germany.’ Both Facebook and Instagram took down accounts of a group he runs for spreading medical misinformation.”
As the Times reported, Kennedy “members have accused” RFK Jr. “of sowing distrust in the science behind vaccines,” and that his quixotic presidential campaign “has appalled members of his famous Democratic clan.”
“I love my brother Bobby, but I do not share or endorse his opinions on many issues, including the Covid pandemic, vaccinations and the role of social media platforms in policing false information,” Kerry Kennedy, his sister, said at the time of his presidential campaign launch.
It is rare for an incumbent president to draw a challenge for his party’s nomination, but Biden has two foes in next year’s Democratic primary.
Along with Kennedy, Marianne Williamson, who sought the party’s nomination in 2020, is also mounting a challenge to Biden.
Polls have shown Kennedy garnering a little under 20 percent support among would-be Democratic primary voters, a respectable showing that nonetheless puts him around 40-50 points behind Biden.
At Wednesday’s town hall event, Kennedy refused to commit to supporting Biden in a general election.
“I don’t know what I’ll do,” Kennedy said, as quoted by The Hill. “Let’s see what happens in this campaign. Let’s see what – if people are living up to democratic values and having debates and having discussions and, you know, talking to each other, but I’m not going to bite.”
Kennedy said that his intention is to win the nomination and eventually make it to the White House.
“My plan is to win this election, and I don’t have a plan B,” he said, according to the Hill.