Giant Joints, A Path to Legalization
In between the Bernie Bros. booing, Paul Simon… singing, and Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders tearing the roof of the Wells Fargo Center off, cannabis was also in the air during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday.
On Monday afternoon, prior to Sanders’ keynote speech calling for his supporters to wholeheartedly back Hillary Clinton the “cannabis caucus” made its presence felt with a combination of actions, protests, and some dire warnings as to what a Clinton loss would mean for the legalization movement.
To kick things off, hundreds of legalization activists joined with die-hard Sanders supporters on a march from Philadelphia City Hall to the convention hall at the Wells Fargo Center. With a pair of 51-foot inflatable joints bearing the messages “Legalize. Berned by the DNC” and “Legalize Cannabis Now,” the demonstration was meant to compel all Democratic candidates to get on board with rescheduling the plant, or outright legalization, Philly Voice reported.
(Anyone sparking an actual joint faced nothing more serious than a $25 fine, the penalty for possessing an ounce or less in Philadelphia under a decriminalization bill signed by that city’s mayor in 2013.)
While it’s true that the official Democratic Party platform calls for legalizing marijuana, thanks to the efforts of Sanders and his supporters, the revelations that Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other party apparatchiks worked to defeat Sanders in the primary had Sanders die-hards spitting mad.
With Schultz, a Florida member of Congress and a constant foe of progress on cannabis, announcing she’s stepping down from the DNC, the party may have an easier time embracing drug reform. Who knows? Maybe the ballot initiative legalizing medical marijuana in Florida may even pass this time around.
But just in case you were thinking of backing Green Party candidate Jill Stein or former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president, we have four words for you: Attorney General Chris Christie.
That’s the threat warned of by pro-cannabis members of Congress, including U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Steve Cohen (D-TN), who attended a fundraiser hosted by the Marijuana Policy Project on Monday at a swank Philadelphia locale.
Johnson is pro-legalization, but if you’re in a swing state, a vote for a third-party candidate won’t matter much in the two-way race to turn a state red or blue — and assign its Electoral College votes to either Clinton or Trump. If Trump wins places like Florida and Ohio and thus the presidency, his A.G. is likely to be Christie — who has been “terrible” on cannabis, Blumenauer told Leafly.
New Jersey, where Christie, an early Trump supporter, is governor, has what’s considered the country’s most restrictive medical marijuana program, and Christie has turned back efforts to increase access.
As for Hillary? She “could be better on this issue,” admitted Cohen, “but she couldn’t have a better group of aides to her than the House Democrats and plenty in the Senate, too.”
In case you’re still holding out, for whatever reason, let’s listen to Bernie, the guy who helped put legalization on the Democratic Party platform.
“Our job now is to see that platform implemented,” Sanders said on Monday night, “by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House, and a Hillary Clinton presidency — and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen.”
Have you been watching the political conventions? Tell us what you think.