As the presidential election draw nearer, politics is a topic on the minds of many Americans. Though the presidential race is in full force, the major political parties are also using this time to determine what they will focus on in the coming years.
The Democratic National Convention is right around the corner. Democrats have taken an unprecedented stand by publicly including marijuana reform as part of the party’s platform for 2016, according to NBC News.
The History of Marijuana Reform and the Democratic Party
This call for marijuana reform is a major step for the Democratic Party. However, it is not the first time that Democrats have publicly supported the need for change in marijuana legislation.
Back in 2014, President Barack Obama told The New Yorker that he does not believe that marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol. This was only one example of the changing view of public officials and marijuana.
Major studies from Pew Research and the Harvard Business Review show that many Americans support the legalization of marijuana. This helped Democrats realize that marijuana reform was becoming an important issue. Particularly, this reform was seen as a way to get younger voters out to the polls.
A number of Democrats have already worked on marijuana reform on state and local levels. Thus, it seems like the party is closer to working toward change on a national level.
A Call for Marijuana Reform in 2016 from Democrats
In preparation for the Democratic National Convention, Democrats released a statement that officially called for marijuana reform. They stated, “We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize marijuana should be able to do so.”
The statement went on to outline what sort of policy changes Democrats would like to see and why. They explained that there needs to be more marijuana research and clear laws that allow legal marijuana businesses to run without legislative confusion.
Democrats also expressed concern with the disparate arrest rates for African-Americans when it comes to marijuana possession in comparison to white people. This is aside from the medical and business aspect of marijuana reform,
Bernie Sanders Hoped for Even More Reform
Though the Democrats have called for marijuana reform, one of the party’s front runners has called for additional change. That front runner is Sen. Bernie Sanders, who still has not officially dropped out of the presidential race. This despite the fact that Hillary Clinton is the party’s presumptive nominee. However, Bernie has expressed interest to completely remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.
Sanders vocal support of marijuana reform could potentially have a major impact on the country. Sanders’ supporters have been very vocal about their desire for change. And with Democrats taking on the charge of marijuana reform, increased voter support can make a big difference. This helps in getting changes on ballots and reform made into legislation.
When the Democratic primary takes place at the end of July, marijuana reform could potentially have a moment in the spotlight.