By David Downs
America’s millions of cannabis consumers and allies scored a major victory Saturday in Orlando when the committee in charge of the Democratic Party’s official platform approved a measure calling for ending pot’s federal status as the world’s most dangerous drug, as well as “a reasoned pathway to future legalization.”
According to the Washington Post’ David Weigel, the vote to add re-scheduling and a legalization plank to the party platform proved dramatic and “razor-thin”. About 56 percent of Americans favor ending the federal war on marijuana entirely, with support among Democrats surpassing that of Republicans.
The vote broadens official support in the Democratic Party for the reforms, after a smaller drafting committee approved similar plank language last week. The California Democratic Party has already endorsed legalization measure Prop 64, which is on the ballot in the General Election Nov. 8.
The U.S. government deems marijuana is a “schedule I” drug with no medical use and a high potential for abuse. But decades of science contradicts that designation. Thirty-seven U.S. states have some form of medical marijuana law, and research shows pot is not physically addictive, and causes far less dependence than other popular drugs including alcohol, nicotine, and opioid pharmaceuticals. States with medical pot laws see opioid-related overdoses from pills like OxyContin and Vicodin drop by 25 percent, research shows. Yet opioids are deemed safer than pot, while alcohol and nicotine are not controlled under federal drug laws.
Countless political leaders have come out to denounce U.S. pot policy. Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has called for federal de-scheduling and an end to failed cannabis prohibition in America — where about half the population has tried the plant and roughly 700,000 citizens will be arrested for it each year. Hillary Clinton promised to downgrade pot from first to second place on the dangerous drugs list. Sanders is expected to endorse Clinton today in New Hampshire, and speak the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this month.
In other news the Drug Enforcement Administration announced they will potentially re-schedule some parts of the cannabis plant within the next 30 days.