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The Democratic Platform on Drugs

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #750)
Consequences of Prohibition
Politics & Advocacy

The Democrats are on their way home from the national convention in Charlotte, and now is a good time to examine their official stand on drug policy. A review of the 2012 Democratic National Platform suggests there's not much new there.

There are only a handful of mentions of drugs or drug policy in the text of the platform -- and the word "marijuana" doesn't appear at all -- all of them having to do with either combating international organized crime or touting the Obama administration's baby steps toward a progressive drug policy.

The first mention of drugs comes in the section about "Strengthening the American Community" and its subsection about Puerto Rico. It calls for more drug law enforcement there: "We support increased efforts by the federal government to improve public safety in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, with a particular emphasis on efforts to combat drug trafficking and crime throughout our Caribbean border."

Similarly, in the platform's subsections on "Transnational Crime" and "The Americas," the mention of drugs and drug policy comes only in the context of fighting crime. The former section merely notes that "transnational criminal organizations have accumulated unprecedented wealth and power through the drug trade, arms smuggling, human trafficking, and other illicit activities" and touts the Obama administration's comprehensive Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime.

In the latter section, there is more "tough on crime" talk: "We have strengthened cooperation with Mexico, Colombia, and throughout Central America to combat narco-traffickers and criminal gangs that threaten their citizens and ours. We will also work to disrupt organized crime networks seeking to use the Caribbean to smuggle drugs into our country. As we collectively confront these challenges, we will continue to support the region’s security forces, border security, and police with the equipment, training, and technologies they need to keep their communities safe. We will improve coordination and share more information so that those who traffic in drugs and in human beings have fewer places to hide. And we will continue to put unprecedented pressure on cartel finances, including in the United States."

The only other mention of drugs or drug policy comes in the platform subsection on "Public Safety, Justice, and Crime Prevention." Here, even as they acknowledge that serious crime is at a 50-year low, the Democrats say they are "fighting for new funding that will help keep cops on the street" and "to ensure our courageous police officers and first responders are equipped with the best technology, equipment, and innovative strategies to prevent and fight crimes."

The platform also says that Democrats will "[continue] to invest in proven community-based law enforcement programs such as the Community Oriented Policing Services program" and "support local prison-to-work programs and other initiatives to reduce recidivism, making citizens safer and saving the taxpayers money."

The Democrats "will continue to fight inequalities in our criminal justice system," the platform says, pointing to the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act as "reducing racial disparities in sentencing for drug crimes." The act actually addresses only crack cocaine sentencing.

Finally, the platform calls for increased law enforcement cooperation: "We must help state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement work together to combat and prevent drug crime and drug and alcohol abuse, which are blights on our communities. We have increased funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program over the last four years, and we will continue to expand the use of drug courts."

This is your Democratic platform on drugs.

For our take on the Republican platform, go here.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


maryjanesuncle (not verified)

Paul Ryan Talks Medical Marijuana Legalization: ‘Let the States Decide’...Hell ya.  Obama has lied to the cannabis community and done it more damage than 2 Bush's and a Clinton.  Mr. Ryan, not only will you get my vote, you will get a donation from both myself and my chapter.

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 7:45am Permalink
Thinking Clearly (not verified)

In reply to by maryjanesuncle (not verified)

"A Ryan spokesman later emphasized that he agrees with Mitt Romney that marijuana should never be legalized"

Boy, are you easy.

Tue, 09/11/2012 - 2:09am Permalink
Nemo (not verified)

Bad enough we get the ones from the DLC trying to scare us with the big, bad Romneymonster.. Now we have RNC shills showing up. But 'Judas goat' shills expecting to herd cannabists like sheep to Romney's camp have another think coming.

Sorry, shills, we're not interested, so peddle your dreck someplace else.

Republicans have been at the forefront of the ever increasing penalties against illicit drug users for the past 40 years, with the Dems tagging along puppy-like, tongue out and panting, voting with them to keep from looking weak.

Republicans have forgotten their basic principles as exemplified by Ron Paul, and now use the Potemkin Village style modus operandi  of loudly paying lip service to those (abandoned) principles to sucker the mindless "USA! USA!" chanting rubes in order to hide a corporatist agenda. And that agenda is, ultimately, hostile to all forms of individual sovereignty over yourself.

So, just as I've said to the DLC shills, I say unto you: bugger off, shills! You shouldn't believe your own lies about the mental capacities of cannabists, lest you be hoist by your own petards. As you have been today.

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 9:18am Permalink
mexweed (not verified)

Amid oversevere anger, a good point  by Nemo:

   "...That (corporatist) agenda is, ultimately, hostile to all forms of individual sovereignty over yourself."

In these days of 6,000,000-a-year $igarette Holocaust, the #1 self-protective individual sovereighty at stake right now is the right of every TEENAGER, or even younger child, to successfully avoid ever getting trapped into pack-a-day Nicotine Black Lung Slavery-- with a 44% chance of premature death and a $2000-$4000/year habit depending how much $igarette tax money your state takes as a bribe to allow such trade-- by trying ()a) alternative herbs instead of tobacco and (b) a dosage miniaturization utensil instead of 500- or 700-mg-per-lightup $igarette papers..

Cannabis (repeat: it is an herbal nutrition supplement, not a "drug", that is the MOST IMPORTANT "DRUG THING" to know about cannabis) represents a chance fort young persons to know, get to be knowledgeable, even expert about inspiration and creativity through ingesting hot vapors without danger of addiction to Nicotine and chronic disease and/or death from carbon monoxide.  This requires a public information program about the difference between "SMOKING" and VAPORIZING and about proper 25-mg serving size utensils to replace dangerous drug device #1, the hot burning monoxide $igarette.

Agreed, neither party is on board usefully at this point, so vote LESSER EVIL, especially locally as advised above, bearing in mind that two tobacco industry lobbyists are on Speaker Boehner's advisory staff and $igarette corporations average twice as much contribution money to Republican as to Democratic candidacies.  (They know putting more young men, especially black, in jail (conveniently using cannabis laws) has always helped to increase depression, frustration, panic and recruitment into $igarette addiction.)

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 6:13pm Permalink
kickback (not verified)

Yea , it`s the same `ol song and dance . The " drug war " has never been about drugs . Genesis chapter 1 , verses. 11- 13 . Apostasy is at hand .  How ridiculous is it for a human to criminalize a plant ? How can " sober " people wage such insane tactics against others ? Could it be the drugs they ingest ? Ga. Bulldogs will whoop Mizzou2nd half now . States rights according to what ?

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 10:59pm Permalink
Nemo (not verified)

Here's what they mean when the Dem leadership say, oh-so-coyly, that they will 'do something' in 2013 if we work real hard fro him to get him elected.

The fix is already in: Obama has a White House-funded, ONDCP adjunct called the 'National Marijuana Initiative'. Odd how you haven't heard much about it, huh? There's a very good reason:


The 'fix is in'. Just as has been warned about, here and elsewhere, it's to pave the way for official recognition of sativex and its' clones as the only Federally acceptable cannabis-based drug in the US.

And here it is, straight from the horse's mouth:

from the article:

"The meeting -- attended by local elected officials, state and federal law enforcement officers, environmental scientists and landowners -- was aimed at offering a forum for folks to pool information in order to help everyone apprised of the breadth of the problem. In what organizers believed was a coup, the meeting was also attended by Tommy Lanier, director of the White House-funded National Marijuana Initiative.

In a recent interview with the Times-Standard, Lanier said he focused his comments on the need for more education about large scale illegal cultivation. Lanier said he began his remarks by explaining why marijuana is not a medicine and urging officials to educate themselves and citizens about Sativex, a cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical alternative to marijuana.

Lanier said his other major goal was to make sure local officials knew they could not implement policies or ordinances that in any way facilitated, or were complacent regarding the medical marijuana industry.

”We hit that home pretty hard because what we don't want is a safe haven for people,” Lanier said.

There you have it, right out in the open. They are trying to kill relegalization by saying we don't need it, we'll have Sativex. Sativex is scheduled to be FDA-approved in 2013. THIS is what the slimy little f**ks mean when they say they'll 'do something about marijuana' in Obama's second term. As warned about here, they'll continue to throw you in jail for doing what GW Pharma will do and make big bucks off of.


They really, truly do believe we're that stupid. Time to let then know otherwise. Your Congresscritter and Senator should be hounded with questions as to why this favorable treatment of a company set to make billions marketing a medicine that you can grow in your backyard for pennies on the dollar, were it legal.

The corruption of the Federal government is proving to be bottomless.





Mon, 09/10/2012 - 1:20pm Permalink
Thinking Clearly (not verified)

Party platforms give shape to the election promises that millions are spent on. The prohibition of marijuana and the criminalization of drug users makes it impossible for the Democrats to fight inequalities in our criminal justice system and reduce racial disparities for drug crimes. Without Federal marijuana prohibition being addressed these platform goals are unachievable and unrealistic.

Supporting Law Enforcement and continuing Prohibition IS the winning formula that made America the prison capital of the world. I won't support that formula any more.

Our current two party system does not contain any solution to the problem that neither the Democratic or Republican Platforms address the real issues that have made "the war on drugs" a war.

The only platform to address the problem is that of the Libertarians. Our two party system has failed us in the representation of the 50% of the population that favors the legalization of marijuana and the 70% that want medical marijuana made legal. Only Gary Johnson promises to legalize marijuana and address this issue that cuts across all demographics. Obama can't seem to find a way to control the DEA, so I can't seem to find a way to control my fingers when they go to flip that lever in the election booth.

Pretty simple. No Democracy in the Democratic Platform, no support from me.

Tue, 09/11/2012 - 1:48am Permalink
sicntired (not verified)

One is as bad as the other.There is nothing for us in this election.There may be choices locally but for President you would have to vote for the libertarians.If they ever got enough votes the whole computer system would somehow crash.Then we would have to go to the supreme court who would give it to Bush,again!

Tue, 09/11/2012 - 2:08am Permalink
Thinking Clearly (not verified)

Recreational drug users are made fun of, Cheech and Chonged and Harold and Kumared into a picture of idiocy. Stoners are too interested in the party to vote.

The real parties are the elephants and the donkeys that are too high on their partying to see the bigger picture.  It might be fun to stay at the party, but Liberty and Justice didn't make it to the parties this year.

Until it does, I just see a bunch of party goers that are too busy having fun to notice that the doors are closed and the house is on fire.

Tue, 09/11/2012 - 3:15am Permalink

Both corporate parties have had ample opportunity to prove that they have only bad policies when it comes to marijuana. The "Drug War" which both parties support has led to mass incarceration for profit. The Prison Industrial Complex gets a great return from buying politicians.

The Green Party refuses to be bought. Green candidates renounce all corporate donations. The GPUSA has proudly stood for the legalization of marijuana since its inception. Please tell all your friends why you're voting Green.

Fri, 09/14/2012 - 5:57pm Permalink
the virgin terry (not verified)

correction to philip smith's fine assessment of the democrats' official position on drugs: they're not on drugs, they're on dogmas! dogmas are far more dangerous and deadly! just say no to dogmas! democrats and republicans both are addicted to dogmas!

Mon, 09/17/2012 - 10:42pm Permalink
Todd Sermas (not verified)

I tried to kill myself the cops come and after a stay in ICU i got a charge now I have yet more problems good job all the money all the people put in prison for simple use getting raped and beat  to hell ya thats the answer and it is not working stop this now end it and the drug lords will be left with nothing ripping family apart just dumb why cant you see it is not working this is not what god wants we are seeing that you do nothing and expect a different result come on when some one is dying they wont call 911 hell they will come and charge you so you know by being tuff on drugs is killing people that blood is on your hands burn in hell if you do nothing

Tue, 10/27/2015 - 8:42pm Permalink

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