In May, the Sanders campaign was given a major opportunity to influence the DNC platform, as 11 of the 15 seats on the drafting committee were filled by progressive voices. While this was a significant victory, the progressives haven’t won every battle before the full committee.
Losses include: no direct verbiage against the TPP, no national ban on fracking, no call for the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian settlements, and losing several proposals on campaigning, including a ban on officials taking later positions in the industries they regulate.
But one totally unexpected win was on the issue of marijuana legalization, passing the committee by an 81 to 80 vote:
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 — Amendment adopted 07/09/2016
Schedule 1 controlled substances are defined as ‘drugs, substances, or chemicals with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.’
Considering that numerous, credible universities and researchers are currently studying the medical uses for marijuana, including the University of California, San Diego, marijuana no longer fits the government’s own definition for it being categorized as Schedule 1.
With half of the states, plus the District of Columbia now allowing at least some form of legalized medical marijuana, the states are asserting their power over federal legislation on this issue.
Eight more states will vote on some form of marijuana legislation this year, including California for recreational use.
The Washington Post reported that one Sanders backer from Tennessee called the criminalization of marijuana a throwback to an era trying to hurt ‘hippies and blacks,’ an absurdity that classified marijuana and heroin the same.
This unexpected win, coupled with a call for the Justice Department to ‘investigate all questionable or suspicious police-involved shootings,’ represents a significant progressive win in the overall Democratic platform, calling for reforms to America’s criminal justice system.