In an historic vote, the California Democratic Party, the largest state political party in the country, for the first time ever voted to support the legalization of marijuana.
The plank submitted by the Brownie Mary Democratic Club originally called on the party to “Support the legalization of marijuana for industrial and recreational uses either through the initiative or legislative process in order to reduce crime, create new jobs and provide a new source of tax revenue.”
The plank was revised by the Platform Committee to read “Support the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana, in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol.”
I had no objections to the changes and when I asked what I needed to do next, was told that I really didn’t need to do anything as it was approved by a solid majority of Platform Committee and it will proceed on its own just fine.
I was a little nervous about the idea of just sitting back and doing nothing – I have heard these horror stories of behind the scenes political manipulations and sabotage. After all, this was all about marijuana and people get a little strange about marijuana on both sides.
The approval of the party platform is one of the major undertakings of the convention and the fact that it is the last item taken up shows its level of concern as some of us are on pins and needles awaiting the outcome of whatever last minute wrangling might go on.
When I came to the Convention’s final session where the Platform would be voted on, I was handed a sheet with information on the Platform. Of the thousands of planks introduced and the hundreds accepted by the Platform Committee and incorporated into the 2014 California Democratic Party Platform, a few were selected and highlighted on this sheet as urgent and important. Marijuana legalization was one of those select items.
This was astounding – of all the major issues that Democrats consider critical – income inequality, climate change, health care, public schools, reproductive rights, inclusiveness –the legalization of marijuana is also now considered as one of those important issues. This really shows that the California Democratic Party gets it and frankly they get it on most issues.
With the passage of the mj legalization it seems ever so appropriate that we had our presence there as a member of the First Ring of the Chairman's Circle with our exhibit booth, virtual banner in the main convention hall and brochure with attached green ribbon distributed to every delegate.
Way above and beyond the call of duty, Paula Hanisee personally made 4,000 green ribbons with pins distributed to every delegate at the convention. Although I wouldn’t call it a sea of green, you saw quite a few delegates sporting green ribbons. All however took the ribbon in their convention bags back with them bringing the message of marijuana legalization back to their homes.
The green ribbon made a very splashy appearance during the opening ceremonies when an African-American lesbian professional firefighter lead the convention in the Pledge of Allegiance. Adorning her black uniform was one of Paula’s bright-green ribbons prominently displayed where everyone saw it. This would never happen at a Republican Convention.
California Democrats are proud of their support for marijuana legalization and I must say this is one of those days where I can say and every other registered Democrat can feel proud to be a Democrat too.
A plus for the Democrats is supporting marijuana legalization will also bring a lot of new voters into the Democratic Party. For many young voters as well as many voters who have chosen not to affiliate with a political party, ending marijuana prohibition is a major issue for and one that influences which political candidates they vote for and which political party they affiliate with.
Of course getting the California Democratic Party to pass a plank and getting elected California Democrats to support and enact the plank is a totally different matter. Elected officials are notorious for ignoring a party’s platform, but obtaining the party’s imprimatur on the issue could certainly persuade some officer holders sitting on the fence, to get off on our side.
Democrats have shown they support us and it is now time for us to support Democrats and the way to do that is to join the Brownie Mary Democratic Club as getting Democratic office holders to support mj legalization is the job of the Brownie Mary Democratic Club.
One of the ways to do that is to support Democratic candidates who are open and above board on their support for ending marijuana prohibition. Each BMDC should find a Democratic candidate that supports us and then we should support them.
The roll then of a local BMDC is to organize mj consumers and advocates to assist in the election of Democrats who favor mj legalization – we walk precincts, we make phone calls, we stuff envelopes, we waive signs, we raise money and do all those things that are done to get a favored elected.
If you are fortunate to live in Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento and yes now San Francisco County, you can join your local BMDC. Currently only the Riverside Club has on-line applications available. For more information on joining other clubs, send me an email and I will put them in touch with you.
Clubs are forming in San Bernardino, Alameda, Orange and San Diego Counties. A number of people we met at the Democratic Convention are interested in forming a BMDC in their county, so the number will expand.
If there is no BMDC in your county, you can form one. For information on forming a BMDC, send me an email and I will send you step by step instructions. It will take somewhere between 20 and 25 hours to form a club and then it is done once and for all.