On July 9th the Democratic Party, in the form of a Platform amendment, announced that it wants a “reasonable pathway” for legalization of marijuana and proposed rescheduling marijuana from Schedule 1 under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Though this is no resounding endorsement of full-blown legalization, it is a positive step towards the actual end of the federal war on marijuana.
But does it matter that much? Even if you’re a jaded politician hater, the answer is yes. And that’s because it’s the first time a major U.S. political party has made marijuana legal reform a plank in its platform. The 2012 Democratic Platform called for “a reduction in racial disparities in drug sentencing,” but it said nothing about marijuana legalization or state-by-state marijuana experiments. The 2016 Democratic platform shows how progressive things have gotten for ending federal marijuana prohibition — even if it was allegedly by accident, and even if Hillary isn’t a fan. Thanks Bernie.
After some back and forth on the strength of the language surrounding legalization, the Democratic Party Platform now includes the following directives:
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….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
Contrast this platform with the paranoid and out-of-touch stance on cannabis taken by the GOP earlier this week. Medical marijuana eventually failed to make the Republican Party Platform at all, after robust debate on the topic. This was a big disappointment from the party that claims to be for states’ rights. When presented with a proposed amendment to express support for states with non-smokable medical cannabis laws, some GOP representatives had the following to say:
[Some] claimed scientists have a “long way to go with research” on marijuana and argued that studies, which [were not provided], showed a link between it and mental health issues. Another delegate absurdly claimed that people who commit mass murders are “young boys from divorced families, and they’re all smoking pot.” Yet another delegate claimed marijuana triggered schizophrenia, and is funded nationally by Democrat and New York financier George Soros. “Let’s think a little bit what happens with Percocet, with OxyContin,” claimed a third delegate, who drew a connection between the ongoing heroin epidemic and teenagers smoking marijuana.
Mass murders and marijuana? Sounds like reefer madness to us. Is it really too much to ask for our politicians to simply be rational and to favor science and logic over absurdity?