Article by Tom Angell, Marijuana.com
Pressure is mounting for the Democratic Party to clean house following Hillary Clinton’s unexpected defeat in the presidential campaign, and that could bode well for marijuana legalization efforts.
Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota is mounting what appears to be a very strong bid for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). A stalwart progressive who backed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the Democratic presidential primary, Ellison is also a vocal supporter of cannabis law reform.
Earlier this year, Ellison helped to insert far-reaching pro-legalization language into the 2016 Democratic Party Platform, speaking up in favor of the plank during a sometimes contentious drafting meeting.
“As a person who would not recommend marijuana usage personally, I’m strongly in favor of this proposal,” he said. “This is gonna help us really get off the whole war on drugs, and I would really favor treatment over this incarceral system we have.”
n Congress, Eillison voted for a U.S. House amendment last year to prevent the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration from interfering with state marijuana laws. He has also consistently voted in favor of narrower amendmentsto protect state medical cannabis laws from federal impediments.
In contrast, the most recently elected chair of the party, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, voted against both marijuana amendments. She has also historically opposed measures to allow military veterans to receive medical cannabis recommendations from Department of Veterans Affairs doctors. Only this year did she switch her position to support the veterans measure, likely due to an unexpectedly strong primary election challenge from an opponent who campaigned on broad marijuana law reform. She also spoke in support of decriminalization during the course of her reelection campaign but refused to endorse the medical marijuana measure on her state’s ballot.