The Democratic Party Made a Big Move on Marijuana

July 10th 2016

Lucy Tiven

The Democratic Party just got a little more 420-friendly.

The Democratic Party on Saturday announced that it was endorsing a "reasoned pathway to future legalization," Slate reported.

Supporters hailed the move as a big win for Sen. Bernie Sanders

The Democratic Party platform now supports removal of marijuana from the list of Class 1 Controlled Substances, which includes such drugs as heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote. The platform also looks to legalization at both federal and state levels.

Here's the full text of the platform language, as reported by The Washington Post:

"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."

The amendment takes a more progressive stance on marijuana than one embraced by the party earlier in the week, The Washington Post reported.

In Saturday's meeting, the party's drafting committee revived an amendment proposed by Tennessee Sanders delegate David King, who argued that scheduling marijuana under the same class as heroin came out of a "craze" to punish "hippies and blacks."

Some committee members had worried that the proposed amendment could undercut marijuana research and decriminalization at the state level, the Post reported.

The amendment was then modified to include language about the "pathway for future legalization" to address these concerns.

Legalization supporters applauded the platform change.

"It's been clear for some time that marijuana law reform is picking up more and more momentum, but for one of the country's two major parties to officially acknowledge that legalization is the future is one of the surest signs yet that our movement is now at the forefront of mainstream American politics," Marijuana Majority founder Tom Angell told ATTN via email. "It's going to be very, very hard for prohibitionists to reverse our gains, especially after we more than double the number of states with legalization by the end of this year."

Saturday's announcement illustrated the influence of Sanders' progressive positions on the party mainstream.

"We got 80 percent of what we wanted in this platform," top Sanders foreign policy adviser Warren Gunnels told CNN.

  • The platform addressed Sanders' concerns about trade deals, though it took a more moderate stance than Sanders. It doesn't condemn the Trans-Pacific Partnership explicitly, for example; it says only that it opposes trade deals that don't support American jobs.
  • The platform reflected another of Sanders' progressive positions by calling for a $15 minimum wage, CNN reported.