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Democratic Marijuana Reform Platform Plank Stops Just Short of Legalization

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #934)
Politics & Advocacy

This article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

For the first time, a major US political party has embraced a strongly reformist platform plank on marijuana. Members of a panel of the Democratic National Committee Platform Drafting Committee approved the language last weekend.

It's not as forthright as the position sought by committee members appointed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, who wanted language calling for the complete removal of marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act, but it is still a major step forward for a major political party.

Sanders supporters, led by environmentalist Bill McKibben, proposed a plank that read: "We will refocus our drug policy by removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and allowing states to set their own policies."

But that language was quickly tabled, and after discussion among panel members, the panel unanimously adopted the following language:

"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 African-Americans far outstripping arrest rates among whites despite similar usage rates."

The language is not yet set in stone -- it still has to be approved by the full Platform Drafting Committee later this week and by the Democratic convention, set for July 25-28 -- but given that it reflects the stance of presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, it's unlikely to change much between now and then.

The national Democratic Party is reflecting broader pot-reform currents in the party. According to an analysis by, 12 state Democratic Party platforms, including California's, are now calling for marijuana law reform, and Democratic lawmakers in the Congress are beginning to step up and support similar moves in Congress.

The Greens and the Libertarians have had good marijuana and drug policy platforms for years, but now, finally, a party that can actually win national elections is stepping up to the plate, if it a bit timidly.

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.


saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

 Just lumped it together with recreational. Not paying any attention to the news on cannabis vs. prescription opiates, or cannabis and cancer, or cannabis and Alzheimer's, or cannabis and childhood epilepsy, etc, etc, are they? Doctors need to be allowed to prescribe cannabis everywhere in this country NOW. Period. it's a basic human right. Big pharma will just have to deal with the hit to their ill gotten loot.

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 9:28pm Permalink
Molecule (not verified)

I'm not a pot user ... but marijuana reform is about our right to choose our own form of medicine.

The concept of Medical Marijuana is a MORAL ATROCITY. Big Pharma and its Medical Mafioso have WAY too much power as it is. The slippery slope problem occurs whenever power is given over from We the People to a closed medical mafia. IF a common herb like marijuana can be "medicalized" (whose use can be controlled by the medical mafia), then basic and common and worldwide herbs and seeds, like basil, cilantro, turmeric, black seed, etc. all of which also can have beneficial effects for the immune system -- next thing we need a legal prescription from a medical mafia to add a little cilantro into a potato salad.

Same even goes for opium. Fresh raw opium, in a pea-sized quantity under the tongue, strengthens the immune system, helping the body to cure everything, from diabetes, to heart disease and even cancer. Heroin, or morphine or any alkaloid precipitate of opium paste, whether by lye (new method) or mason's lime (ancient method), should be absolute illegal, as should ALL of the SSRIs and heroin immitations that are pushed and sold by Big Pharma and their medical mafia.

Along the same lines, Medicare should not prevent one's right to choose one's method of medical treatment. Traditional Chinese Medicine is Not ALLOWED. This is a form of Medical Racism, enforced by the FEDERAL MAFIA. The "US Gov't" has total disrespect for the millions of people who have a right to depend on, and trust, their TCM medical practicioners, who prefer to use, the non violent methods of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).

If Marijuana is "medicalized" (turned over to big pharma and its vast medical mafia, inluding the "US Gov't"), then will need a doctor's prescription to add a sprig of fresh basil to a nice bowl of Chinese bone broth soup? add cilantro to a potato salad? add turmeric to an Indian curry dish?


Sat, 07/09/2016 - 7:31pm Permalink

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