Twenty five states have legalized medical marijuana as of now and Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska and D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana. Eight states, including California and Nevada are voting this November on whether to legalize recreational marijuana and more states are voting on whether to legalize medical cannabis. So, at this point in time, it seems very urgent that the government take a look at the issue of legalization and work to create a legal system that reflects the sentiments of the nation.
The Current Status of Cannabis in America
Currently marijuana, is still classified as a Schedule I drug, making it federally illegal and considered to be as dangerous as meth and heroin, containing no medicinal value. Clearly most of the country and science itself disagrees, given that the legalization of medical marijuana has actually reduced the need for many to take dangerous opioid-based prescription drugs and studies have confirmed that it is physically healthier and safer than both cigarettes and alcohol.
The Pro Marijuana Pathway
So where do the politicians stand on this? Well, the republicans have voted to stand against the legalization of marijuana, ignoring social, scientific and economic evidence that clearly shows that it’s a bad position to take. The DNC on the other hand has being spurred along by the brave moves that Bernie Sanders made and many of the pro-marijuana speeches. The Senator has been stating that we need to move towards full legalization since the beginning of his campaign. The party has come to agree and decided to work towards creating “a reasoned pathway to future legalization.”
Pro marijuana advocate Rep. Earl Blumenauer told Leafly, “The secretary knows it’s insane that state-legal medical marijuana businesses can’t have bank accounts, and (she also) wants to break the research stranglehold. She understands the tax penalty for state legal marijuana businesses who can’t deduct their business expenses, and she’s very much into letting the states figure this out in their own way. The stakes are high. This is one thing Bernie and Hillary people can unite on.”
The Changing Tide in the Democratic Party
The party seems to have become more progressive since its former Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz told the New York Times in January, “I just don’t think we should legalize more mind-altering substances if we want to make it less likely that people travel down the path toward using drugs. We have had a resurgence of drug use instead of a decline. There is a huge heroin epidemic.”
Her primary challenger, Tim Canova, told Leafly “I have opposed the misguided drug war for many years. On marijuana and drug policies, Wasserman-Schultz has been out of step with the American people, and now she’s out of step with the Democratic platform.” He continued, “Wasserman-Schultz has spent her entire career demonizing marijuana as a gateway drug. She opposed Florida’s 2014 statewide referendum for medical marijuana — a referendum that narrowly fell short of the required 60 percent mark. She takes money from private prison companies (less than $10,000 total, none recent) and supports private prisons. She has insisted on the draconian drug policies that result in mass incarceration and have brought so much harm to countless families and communities of color.” Florida residents will have the opportunity to vote for Canova on August 30th and to vote for medical marijuana on the November ballot. The new pro marijuana voice of the DNC falls squarely in favor of creating a future without prohibition that allows adults to experience the medicinal, therapeutic and recreational benefits of marijuana.