A few weeks ago, the Democratic National Committee took a big step forward toward legalization by voting unanimously to add downgrading the classification of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act from Schedule I to Schedule II – which would make this year the first time that a major political party affiliation had a platform plank that even touched the subject of marijuana legalization. However, while dropping it to Schedule II might take out some of the issues surrounding medical marijuana, it would do nothing for overall legalization.
This weekend at the Orlando meeting, they brought the conversation back to marijuana. But the difference this time is they decided to take a platform on outright legalization as well. After a very close call on the vote of 81-80, the Democratic National Committee voted in favor of not only downgrading marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act, but also for creating a “reasoned pathway to legalization”.
“Because of conflicting laws concerning marijuana, both on the federal and state levels, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from its list as a Class 1 Federal Controlled Substance, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization.”
It appears that in the hopes of bringing more democrat voters to Hillary Clinton, the Democrats have decided to take a bold stand that no political party has ever taken before. It is widely known that the majority of those in support of marijuana legalization are Democrats or Independents – so this could simply be a tactic to win over those who have been “Feelin’ the Bern” since candidate Bernie Sanders first called for marijuana legalization last fall.
This has definitely been quite the year for support of cannabis legalization – there are initiatives being voted on in multiple states for both medicinal and recreational marijuana, Bernie Sanders was the first presidential hopeful to openly endorse legalization and now, a major political party appears to have realized that the prohibition system has failed and it’s time for marijuana prohibition to be put to an end once and for all.
The current draft calls for ending the era of mass incarceration, shutting down private prisons, ending racial profiling, reforming the grand jury process, investing in re-entry programs, banning the box to help give people a second chance and prioritizing treatment over incarceration for individuals suffering addiction. The Committee also voted unanimously to recognize the role activists and recent movements have played in putting these issues front and center in the national conversation, as they should be.
Along with taking a position on cannabis legalization, the democratic party also voted on and approved a platform plank that calls for the reform of the criminal justice system as well – two things that happen to concern one another greatly. It would be nice to see some major change for both of these systems in the coming year or so – and not only at a state level as it has been for years now. With an entire political party approving, we could be on our way to some big changes in the future.