With the election drawing nearer, the Democratic Party is in the process of determining their platform when it comes to a number of different controversial subjects – but the one we all care about most is cannabis reform. This week the Platform Drafting Committee (of the Democratic National Committee) met and voted on whether or not to be pro-legalization when it comes to their platform on cannabis reform – and they unanimously voted yes.
Their approval reads as follows (on Marijuana.com)
“We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize marijuana should be able to do so. We support policies that will allow more research to be done on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without uncertainty. And we recognize our current marijuana laws have had an unacceptable disparate impact, with arrest rates for marijuana possession among African-Americans far outstripping arrest rates among whites despite similar usage rates.”
Basically, they are saying that cannabis should no longer have a place in the Controlled Substances Act – but as long as it does, they believe that there should be no federal interference of the laws put down by individual state governments. They are also saying that they support all legislation that expands legal research, as well as legislation allowing businesses to exist without fear of being shut down and anything that proposes the decriminalization or legalization of the plant. Turns out – they know what public opinion is and what failed prohibition looks like and they are willing to admit it.
“This is one of these issues where society has largely made up its mind, like gay marriage, and now it’s time for politicians and political institutions to catch up with them,” McKibben said during a brief discussion before the vote. “The idea that marijuana is maintained in federal policy as a drug equivalent to heroin or cocaine or methamphetamine is not only silly, it’s also damaged millions of lives at this point as people have had to cope with the repercussions of that unsound federal policy. We’ve begun to see experimentation in states with good effect, and it’s important that the federal government let that experimentation continue in full without any of the problems that are caused by marijuana continuing to be a federally scheduled drug.”
For now, this is only a draft that will have to be approved by the full platform committee during a meeting in Orlando over July 8th and 9th. It will then be voted on again by the full convention, which will be in Philadelphia July 25th – 28th, so we still have until the end of the month before this endorsement of sorts by the Democratic National Committee is official – but the unanimous vote to get this far should definitely give us hope (especially after the California Democratic Party endorsed the legalization initiative in their state last week).
The time for sensible policy changes are now – and politicians are slowly starting to see there is no reason to keep fighting their losing battle.