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Democrat Candidates Positions Evolve on Marijuana Law Reform

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director September 18, 2015

    ballot_box_leafFormer Maryland Governor and current democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley yesterday held a marijuana legalization listening session in Denver, Colorado. Hoping to ignite progressive voters and to differentiate himself from the two leading democratic candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, O’Malley is emphasizing marijuana law reform as a key plank of his campaign.

    O’Malley met in Denver with leading marijuana law reform activists, and cannabis industry leaders, acknowledging, “If you talk to young Americans under 30 there is a growing consensus that marijuana should be treated more akin to alcohol than to other substances.” He pledged, if elected President, to use his executive authority to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act.

    “While O’Malley’s pledge is a step in the right direction, NORML believes in descheduling cannabis, not rescheduling cannabis. Cocaine, for instance, is a Schedule II controlled substance under federal law, as is methamphetamine. NORML is not of the belief that an ideal public policy is to cease treating marijuana like heroin (Schedule I) but rather to treat it like cocaine (Schedule II).” As NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano recently told the Associated Press, “Rather, we would prefer to see cannabis classified and regulated in a manner that more closely resembles alcohol or tobacco, neither substance of which is classified in any category under the CSA.”

    O’Malley’s announcement yesterday came on the heels of recent, marijuana-specific comments by Clinton and Sanders.

    On Monday, at a campaign stop in Luther College, Clinton responded to a question on whether or not she would support marijuana legalization as President. She answered, “I would support states and localities that are experimenting with this.”

    In an interview with Little Village, a public affairs program on PATV in Iowa City, Sanders also pledged non-governmental interference in state marijuana laws, commenting, “What the federal government can do is say to the state of Colorado that if you choose to vote to legalize marijuana, we will allow you to do that without restrictions.”

    Sanders also pledged to amend federal banking laws to permit state-licensed business to operate like any other legal entity, “In Colorado people who run marijuana shops can’t put their money in banks,” he said. “That’s a violation of federal law. So I think there are things that the federal government can do that would make it easier for states that want to go in that direction to be able to do so.” In addition, he reiterated his position in favor of medical marijuana and decriminalization, a policy he supported in his home state of Vermont.

    However, when asked about full legalization, Sanders continues to be noncommittal, responding, “We’re exploring the pluses and minuses — of which there are both — of moving more aggressively on that issue. It is a very important issue. We’re watching what Colorado is doing, and we’ll have more to say about that in the coming weeks and months.”

    The comments made by all three Democratic candidates for president, coupled with the marijuana related question aimed at the Republican candidates in the most recent Republican primary debate, highlight the new, elevated role marijuana law reform is playing in the election of our next President of the United States. In previous years, candidates’ largely ignored or belittled the issue. But this election that won’t suffice. Voters are demanding clear answers from candidates on what the federal government should do in relation to marijuana policy and they are demanding a change from business as usual.

    36 Responses to “Democrat Candidates Positions Evolve on Marijuana Law Reform”

    1. Allen Byrd says:

      Jake Tapper asked each canadiate in the debate on 9/16/2015 about whose picture should be on the $10.00 bill but skirted around all canadiates on the issue of marijuana legalization – Jack Tapper is a total joke – this is an issue that MUST be ADDRESSED IN DETAIL BY ALL CANADIATES.

    2. The aparent outsider says:

      This whole party needs to evolve as human beings before any of us should take anything spewing out of their mouths seriously. 99% of them are bat shit crazy.

      Then again it’s really only about the 1% right?
      When a racist, womanizer, reality TV star is your front runner, ALOT should be put into perspective about how out of touch this group is! I’m mean within their own party, “I don’t trust him with a nuke, but nevertheless he has my endorsement” this country / world is screwed if any of these yahoo’s make it into office. How long would it take for Donald to piss off another super power and push USA into another war over his dumb ass mouth? Russia is already itching to go to war with us……

      Vote wisely American

    3. David says:

      I want a full commitment to legalization from at least 1 candidate

    4. Raven says:

      “What the federal government can do is say to the state of Colorado that if you choose to vote to legalize marijuana, we will allow you to do that without restrictions.” – See more at: http://blog.norml.org/2015/09/18/democratic-candidates-positions-evolve-on-marijuana-law-reform/#sthash.UwmVChJM.dpuf

      Yippee! US T. 21 SC 1 P.F already says this.

    5. mexweed says:

      1. Cannabis should be (a) CLASSIFIED in a manner that resembles basil, marjoram, OREGANO, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme, and (b) REGULATED by means of a 1/4-inch-diameter #40-screened crater which admits 25-mg $ingle Toke $ervings of #16 pre-sifted herb, to take the place of 500-mg Joint, Blunt, $igarette etc.

      2. Promote and Support states Experimenting with moderate use utensil industry development, handworktraining and job creation.

      3. Publish and post advertising including photos and exquisite graphic diagrams showing the Making and Use of flexdrawtube one-hitters.

      4. “We’re watching what Colorado is doing”– go to Denver, Portland, Seattle, DC or wherever feasible to demonstrate neighborhood cannatrepreneurosity.

      5. Next adjustment in local laws: vapetokes with a one-hitter expressly not be categorized with $moking as ignorantly heretofore, or subject to the limitations thereof.

    6. TheOracle says:

      Hear, hear! Deschedule cannabis!

    7. Miles says:

      At this point in time, Mr. Sanders is my top choice!

      Any candidate that wants to continue the “Lock’em’Up” mentality has no chance of getting my vote.

      That said, Chris Christie can just go straight to hell!!! Seriously, what a shitbag!

    8. Galileo Galilei says:

      “Hoping to ignite progressive voters and to differentiate himself from the two leading democratic candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, O’Malley is emphasizing marijuana law reform as a key plank of his campaign.”

      Keep your eye on the ball. Learn and remember what the candidates are saying. Keep NORML in mind when you decide who to support.

      “In previous years, candidates’ largely ignored or belittled the issue. But this election that won’t suffice.” — As Captain Picard was fond of saying, ‘Make it so.”

    9. Ohio I Am says:

      Well this is where the rubber meets the road. Other than Rand the GOP is clueless.
      If I where a Democrat strategists I would be crafting a cannabis friendly platform.
      What is there to lose, it would definitely set you apart from the pack.

    10. Julian says:

      For those of us who have been following the evolution of US marijuana policy and the violence of perpetual silence over the issue from our debates and elected officials, these “popular” questions are absolutely hilarious to watch. I love watching people’s facial expressions and body language. We can see in candidate’s eyes that clearly the money is no longer exclusively on the side of prohibition. We can see the fear and intimidation in their eyes from Sherriff’s Associations and other agencies of organized crime… We can SEE the effect of NORML PAC, even on a guy like Sanders who allegedly denies PAC money and relies on smaller donations.. This statement he made about “we’re watching Colorado,” left me hinged on his campaign. From a public who demands legalization, he’s clearly gambling on some conflicting campaign dollars… And perhaps some old fashioned intimidation from the local sheriff’s association? It will be VERY interesting to see if Sanders calls the bluff. Marijuana Legalization, Revenue for Education!

      (Record scratch…) WAITaminute… Wasn’t O’Malley AGAINST legalization when he was Governor of Maryland? And wasn’t he recently diagnosed with cancer? Way to go Paul, calling this guy out over “rescheduling” instead of descheduling. (Why on earth I had to turn off my spellcheck on this new iPhone to write “descheduling” is another mystery. It kept forcing me to say “rescheduling.” C’mon Apple! Steve Jobs smoked weed!)

      These are fascinating times in American history. Never have I seen such an organized criminal effort to deceive the vote to reform our marijuana policy coupled by such a well organized and educated reform movement from the voting public, NORML and growing marijuana lobbies and investment firms. All we need now is the pope to add his weight on the subject while he visits the mentally ill and homeless in Washington DC and prisoners in Philadelphia next week.

      “Lord, when did we see you when sick or in prison and feed you or give you clothes? And the Lord said, “Even what you did for the least of these, my brethren, you did it for me.” Mathew 27-17

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