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Sensi Magazine

Democrats Adopt Pathway to Legalization

Jul 11, 2016 09:58AM ● By Randy Robinson
After a Democratic National Convention meeting on July 9, the party agreed on new policies for a number of issues. One of those issues at the top of the list? Removing cannabis from Schedule I.

Delegates and other party leaders negotiated the party's new platform going in to the November elections. According to the Washington Post, David King, an attorney and Sanders delegate from Tennessee, argued that marijuana only became a stigma after a "craze" against "blacks and hippies," presumably referring to the "Reefer Madness" of the 1930s and Nixon's War on Drugs during the 1970s. 

Last year, Democratic candidate and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders introduced a senate bill to completely remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. Hillary Clinton, a staunch supporter of medical marijuana, says she'll wait before making a final verdict on full legalization. 

Blazing Ahead

Regardless of Clinton's official stance, one of her delegates agreed with the Sanders camp. Former Arkansas senator Mark Pryor did not challenge the idea, but he did request that the language be modified. Instead of complete descheduling, the wording of the new amendment was changed to reflect a platform of opening a "pathway to legalization" rather than outright legalization. 

In the end, the DNC agreed to this language: 

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.

Rescheduling cannabis currently stands as one of the hottest topics in the marijuana movement. Some legislators want the plant moved from Schedule I to Schedule II. Schedule II will create more options for clinical research, and would give pharmaceutical companies more control over the cannabis industry. The other goal from advocates is to remove cannabis from scheduling altogether. Descheduling would likely place it under the jurisdiction of the FDA rather than the DEA. 

Other Negotiations, Agreements, and Concessions

According to CNN, the Sanders camp claims they won "80 percent" of the demands they brought to Saturday's meeting. Among the new agreements in the DNC platform:

  • The Democrats will fight for a $15 minimum wage.

  • Public healthcare options will expand under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Medicare.

  • There will be no carbon tax, but products that emit greenhouse gases will be priced higher.

  • The Department of Justice will begin tracking and investigating police shootings. The DoJ will also work with police departments to instate training focused on de-escalating violent situations. "Weapons of war" will be banned from local police actions.

  • The Democratic Party will not reject Israeli settlements or occupation, but will work toward a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine. 

  • The DNC did not come to an agreement regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade treaty between the U.S. and Pacific nations that's been compared to NAFTA. Both Clinton and Sanders have publicly opposed the TPP.
The party's platform will be finalized at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia from July 25–28.

Hillary Clinton on cannabis legalization (CNN)