Pennsylvania: Dems Become First Major Party To Back A Path To Legalize Marijuana
By Derrick Stanley
The Democratic Party made history in Philadelphia Monday by voting to approve a national platform endorsing a "pathway" for marijuana legalization.
The platform calls for removing marijuana from the federal government's list of Schedule 1 drugs. That list includes LSD and heroin; Schedule 1 drugs are considered the most dangerous with a high potential for abuse and no medical purpose.
“The fact that one of the country’s two major parties has officially endorsed a pathway to legalization is the clearest sign we’ve seen yet that marijuana reform is a mainstream issue at the forefront of American politics,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, a pro-legalization group.
“A clear and growing majority of voters want to end prohibition.”
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton does not back full legalization at the federal level. She has often said that marijuana legalization should be left to the states, allowing them to be “laboratories of democracy.”
Legal marijuana could see a huge expansion this year.
Voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will vote on marijuana legalization in November, and voters in Florida and Arkansas will have the opportunity to vote for medical marijuana.
On the closing day of the convention, marijuana activists plan to stage a Cannabis Pride Parade and carry a 51-foot-long, inflatable joint through the city. A post-convention bash Thursday will feature an appearance by rapper Snoop Dogg, who launched a cannabis line called Leafs By Snoop last year.
The new Democratic platform on marijuana reads as follows:
“Because of conflicting federal and state laws concerning marijuana, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from the list of ‘Schedule 1’ federal controlled substances and to appropriately regulate it, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization. We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize it or provide access to medical marijuana should be able to do so. We support policies that will allow more research 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 in terms of arrest rates for African-Americans that far outstrip arrest rates for whites, despite similar usage rates.”