Biden calls for decriminalizing marijuana and eliminating private prisons at federal level


Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 23, 2019: Joe Biden released his criminal justice platform on Tuesday. Kamala Harris introduced two bills on water infrastructure and marijuana-related offenses.


Which presidential election had the highest estimated voter turnout?

Notable Quote of the Day

“Since entering the presidential race, Ms. Warren has taken pictures with more than 38,000 people, her campaign estimates. Ms. Warren says the photos are part of her effort to build what she likes to call a ‘grass-roots movement.’ …

Other Democratic candidates also take pictures with voters, even if they lack the well-orchestrated selfie line that Ms. Warren employs. Senator Bernie Sanders recently started forming a selfie line at his events. Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign has promised photos to people who spring for $500 or $1,000 tickets to some grass-roots fund-raisers. …

In a primary race where Democrats have two dozen candidates to choose from, a personal moment with the candidate can make a difference.”

– Thomas Kaplan, Tamir Kalifa, and Eden Weingart, The New York Times 


  • Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson endorsed Joe Biden Monday, becoming the sixth member of the Congressional Black Caucus to do so. 

  • Biden issued his criminal justice platform Tuesday. He proposes treating rather than incarcerating addicts, increasing funding for drug courts, eliminating sentencing disparities between crack and cocaine cases, and ending the use of private prisons at the federal level. His plan also calls for decriminalizing marijuana, expunging marijuana-related offenses, and categorizing marijuana as a schedule II drug.

  • Bill de Blasio criticized Con Edison’s handling of the heatwave in New York City following outages over the past two weekends. He said its response “would be absolutely unacceptable if it were a public entity.”

  • In an interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Cory Booker spoke about today’s political climate and the U.S. Senate.

  • Steve Bullock launched his official campaign merchandise shop.

  • Pete Buttigieg proposed raising the maximum annual earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax from $132,900 to $250,000 to keep the program solvent.

  • John Delaney participated in the “20 Questions for 2020” series on NowThisNews, discussing climate change, unions, and Trump’s businesses.

  • In an interview on The ViewTulsi Gabbard discussed Puerto Rico and her concern with decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings.

  • In response to a report in The New Yorker about Sen. Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand said she did not regret calling for Franken’s resignation following sexual misconduct allegations.

  • Kamala Harris introduced the Water Justice Act Monday, which would call for $250 billion to be spent on water infrastructure and clean and safe drinking water programs.

  • Harris will also introduce the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act Tuesday to decriminalize marijuana, expunge past marijuana-related convictions, and bar the deportation of immigrants based on a marijuana charge.

  • John Hickenlooper posted a digital ad highlighting his experience owning a brewery and serving as governor of Colorado.

  • Jay Inslee attended a forum hosted by several Democratic clubs in Palisades, California.

  • In a Washington Post Live interviewAmy Klobuchar discussed the Affordable Care Act, climate change, and immigration.

  • Seth Moulton spoke about national security and election security, climate change, and cyber issues in an interview on the Evening Beat.

  • Beto O’Rourke toured Ellis Island and hosted a “Bands with Beto” campaign event in New York Monday.

  • The Associated Press profiled the communications network Bernie Sanders has created as an alternative to traditional media.

  • Joe Sestak campaigned in Iowa, speaking to the Clarke County Democrats Monday.

  • Tom Steyer spoke about his policy priorities, diplomatic ties, gun violence, and other issues on WBUR’s Foresight.

  • In a post to Medium, Elizabeth Warren predicted an economic crisis would develop unless the U.S. took several preventive steps. She called for reducing household debt, enforcing leveraged lending guidance, strengthening manufacturing by investing in green research, and eliminating or automatically raising the debt ceiling. 

  • Marianne Williamson discussed establishing a Department of Peace during an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

  • In his plan for veterans, Andrew Yang proposed allowing veterans to receive relevant civilian certifications without additional licensing and providing in-state tuition at any public school in any state. Yang also called for increasing funding for veterans crisis lines and changing the Veterans Affairs healthcare network.


  • Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is writing a book titled Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us. It will be released on November 5, 2019, roughly one year before the 2020 presidential election.

  • Bill Weld continued to campaign in New Hampshire, speaking at the Manchester Rotary Monday.

Flashback: July 23, 2015

Donald Trump toured the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas.