Democrats Reject Cannabis Legalization in Party Platform

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The Democratic Party’s platform committee on Monday rejected an amendment to support federal cannabis legalization, Boulder Weekly reports. The vote was 50-106 with three abstentions.

The committee did approve language supporting federal cannabis decriminalization and rescheduling, along with language calling for reforms on how drug-related crimes are prosecuted.

“We will support legalization of medical marijuana, and believe states should be able to make their own decisions about recreational use. The Justice Department should not launch federal prosecutions of conduct that is legal at the state level. All past criminal convictions for cannabis use should be automatically expunged.” – The Democratic Party platform

In the platform, Democrats call substance use disorders “diseases, not crimes” and says the party believes “no one should be in prison solely because they use drugs.”

“And rather than involving the criminal justice system, Democrats support increased use of drug courts, harm reduction interventions, and treatment diversion programs for those struggling with substance use disorders,” the platform states.

The platform follows the lead of Joe Biden – the former vice president who will challenge President Donald Trump in November – who has stopped short of calling for federal cannabis legalization throughout the campaign. Biden has indicated support for legalizing medical cannabis nationwide but, with regard to broad legalization, the nominee said in a February recording on the campaign trail that he was “not prepared” to enact the reforms.

Biden has said throughout the campaign that he supports expunging low-level cannabis crimes. During a Tuesday speech, Biden called criminal records “the weight that holds back too many people of color, and many whites as well,” according to a Marijuana Moment report.

“Under my plan, if a state decides it wants to implement an automated system for the sealing and expunging of certain nonviolent criminal records if a state chooses to do that, the federal government will help put together the process and allow them the money to be able to know how to organize to do that,” he said during his remarks.

The Republican Party platform calls neither for cannabis nor broad criminal justice reforms.

Only the Green and Libertarian platforms include nationwide cannabis legalization. The Green Party will be represented by Howie Hawkins in the general election, while the Libertarian Party nominee is Jo Jorgensen.

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Democrats Reject Cannabis Legalization in Party Platform

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