Picture this: It’s late in the evening on Monday, July 25. Delegates from all across America want to take in the political revelry that has commenced in the City of Brotherly Love. There is a celebratory feel in the air minus a few dissenting “Feel the Bern” supporters. The Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday night with a cannabis welcome party at a bar where delegates — and even a congressman, lawyers, doctors, and academics — attended.
Democratic officials, including Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer and his state’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, mingled with pot industry executives at a reception at a sleek downtown watering hole near the convention hall. Do I smell something wonderful in the air?
Pro-marijuana advocates congregated in Philadelphia during the Democratic convention (also known as the sane convention), with some carrying a giant inflatable joint through the streets. Philadelphia decriminalized marijuana in 2014. Those caught with weed could face a measly $25 summons, while public smoking carries a slightly more impressive $100 fine. Police said there have been no summonses issued at or around the convention center.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has said she’d like to move marijuana off the Schedule I list and that she supports medical marijuana. The party’s platform agrees, saying that it will encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I controlled substances and to regulate it. The convention’s platform committee also said states that want to decriminalize cannabis or provide access to medical marijuana should be able to do so. Could a pathway for future legalization be far behind should we elect our first female president?
Democrats meeting in Philadelphia have made history, voting to approve a national platform that endorses a “pathway” for the legalization of marijuana. The Democratic Party’s newfound position on marijuana can be largely attributed to the work of Senator Bernie Sanders, who called for the repeal of pot prohibition in the United States throughout his campaign and introduced legislation last year in the U.S. Senate aimed at making this broad reform a reality.
Some Democrats maintain that the Clinton administration would build on what the Obama administration has done. But let’s be specific: Obama said marijuana reform would not be part of his 2016 agenda. What strides has Obama made? What reforms has he instituted? I think we all need to fact-check the assertions put forth by the left despite its newfound pot position. Colorado’s 12 superdelegates, along with other superdelegates nationally, overwhelmingly back Clinton but why? What is the evidence they have to believe the “I’m With Her” candidate will do justice to joints?
NORML gave Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine an “F” grade because of his opposition to legalization and decriminalization. While he indicated that he would consider changing sentencing laws, he still believes marijuana is a gateway drug, a fantasyland theory that has been extensively disproven.
Surely I can appreciate that the Dem’s primary goal this week concerning cannabis is to communicate to the world that they are the party that will remove cannabis from the confines of the Controlled Substances Act – an action that would allow cannabis to be used for both recreational and medicinal purposes. But saying and doing are two very different things. Stay tuned.