Read the Democratic National Committee’s Party Platform on the War on Drugs


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41 Responses

  1. Michael Cain says:

    What are they going to do about the federal banking laws? One of the huge problems for dispensaries is that they are basically a cash-only business, with no access to credit card, checking, loan, and other services.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Michael Cain says:

      and yet Colorado manages to tax them to the tune of millions of dollars, and they have managed to grow substantially. So its not a complete barrier.

      My read has always been that lack of bank access is because marijuana is generally illegal, not because of a banking law that says you con’t do bank business with a marijuana grower. If that’s right, then any move to “decriminalize marijuana use and reschedule it through executive action on the federal level” means that banks should be allowed to do business with dispensaries.

      You do raise a large point however, that decriminalizing is just the start of the process.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Philip H says:

        Yes. If the head of the DEA removed marijuana entirely from the Controlled Substances Act schedules, the problems go away. By statute, the head of the DEA is the only executive branch person with the authority to change scheduling. I don’t remember if they can completely remove a substance, or only shuffle them around. Perhaps I am a pessimist, but I don’t see it coming off the CSA lists entirely. Which would still leave recreational sales illegal, and the banking situation would be unchanged.

        An unintended consequence of state legalization has been that the Dept of Revenue had to make arrangements for accepting quite large cash payments for various taxes: physical security, protocols for counting, etc. They would much rather get a check or an EFT.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Michael Cain says:

          I would suspect if there’s a democratic Administration next year you will see state tax assessors lobbying to get this fully legalized for exactly that reason.Report

        • JS in reply to Michael Cain says:

          “By statute, the head of the DEA is the only executive branch person with the authority to change scheduling”

          If he does not do so in accordance with the legally required processes governing regulatory changes, any change will be instantly stayed by the Courts. As they should be.

          Which means years of effort, due to the requirement for studies and comment periods. Which, and I cannot stress this enough, is a very good thing and skipping or shortchanging them for ANY regulatory change should be prevented by the Courts, as they are in breach of the law.

          Of course, Congress could do it in an afternoon.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

      I’m no expert, but.

      Anyway, I suspect that this is something that is covered by how the laws are worded now? Like, “Banks aren’t allowed to do business with people who are known to be selling Schedule 1 drugs”?

      And just moving the Devil’s Lettuce to Schedule 2 would immediately make this federal law not apply to dispensaries?Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

        From memory, so details are suspect…

        Paraphrased, the 1970 law says “Banks that do business with entities engaged in federally illegal activities are guilty of money laundering.” Yes, quite broad. The only recognized out is to report every suspicious transaction, and all transactions with a dispensary are suspicious. TTBOMK, the only banks that have been willing to take on the reporting costs are a few small credit unions and they charge onerous fees and provide limited services.

        Schedule II-V are still controlled substances, and sale outside the doctor-prescription-licensed pharmacist arrangement is still a violation of federal law.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

          But I know that Safeway deals in Schedule III-V. Maybe having a Red Card is sufficient, the way that a doctor’s prescription for cough medicine that actually works allows Safeway to move product and still do banking.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

            Safeway hires licensed pharmacists to dispense their drugs. They provide the required physical security for controlled substances (most prescription drugs are not controlled substances). They use tracking systems that conform to the federal requirements for controlled substances. They purchase supplies from producers with quality controls approved by the FDA.

            The goal here ought not to be to shuffle marijuana around among the different drug classifications. The goal ought to be to have it declared a legal (and regulated) intoxicant, like ethanol.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

              I have long-term goals and short-term ones.

              At this point, my short term goal involves getting it off of Schedule I.

              I’d prefer “ethanol” to “Schedule II”, but I’d prefer “Schedule II” to “Diddly Squat”.Report

  2. Philip H says:

    Among other interesting things, this proves that Democrats paid attention to the experiment they called out 4 years ago, and have concluded that we need a different path. Wish Republicans would do the same.

    That said, even when this becomes official, it will still take concerted pressure from the citizenry to make it happen. Political platforms are great to see where a party is at intellectually, but they have an abysmal track record of becoming reality.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Philip H says:

      Those two platforms read like they’re the same to me – what substantial change do you see between 2016 and 2020 positions?Report

      • Philip H in reply to dragonfrog says:

        The 2020 version says the President will take unilateral executive action at the national level to decriminalize Marijuana. The 2016 version says states should figure out how to it.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to Philip H says:

          I see. “We will” vs. “We encourage the federal government to” – the latter being really odd given that in both cases they’re proposing to become the federal government.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    The weedheads are pointing out that the DNC voted down an amendment to endorse legalizing it.

    Maybe when it gets to 70% approval, it’ll be safe to distance from the Republican position.Report

  4. Substance use disorders are diseases, not crimes. Democrats believe no one should be in prison solely because they use drugs.

    Like most good(ish) things that are a step in a good(ish) direction, that statement comes with potential bad. If something is a crime, then in theory the government has a higher burden before they act against you. In practice, it’s another matter, or so people like me say. But when something is done for your own good, the burden is lower.

    I hope it’s clear I’m not really criticizing any of this. I’m just raising a warning flag about a direction it all could go if we’re not careful.Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    In related news:


    • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

      Sure, but they also passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act ( which does limit QI severely. Like so many other things it now languishes on Mitch McConnell’s desk.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

        Read twice, “Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 490.”

        Maybe the bill that limits it will do better than the one that would end it. (Oooh! It also puts an emphasis on training!)Report

        • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

          I’m just reporting on the action. That tweet you posted implies that the House has done nothing because one piece of legislation hasn’t been taken up. Which is clearly not the case.Report

        • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

          The D’s and Amash did something. R’s refuse to look at it and state ending QI is a red line for them. Seems pretty clear.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

            Oh, is that who picks what gets voted on in the House? Whether R’s agree to look at it or not?Report

            • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

              The D’s. They voted and passed a reform package that included QI reform. Some people are for QI reform. YMMV. The R’s in the senate put it on ice. If you are for QI reform then it seems like you would want it debated at least so it could get a vote.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                I do want it debated! I’m pleased that it seems to have been put on the legislative calendar.

                (Unless I don’t know what it means to put a bill on the legislative calendar and that’s a term of art for “killed”. But I also think that “reforming QI” is another way to say “maintaining status quo”. I’ll have to see whether cops can be sued for violating 4th Amendment rights because they stole from a guy following the bill’s passage.)Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                Its not serious until it gets a committee assignment.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Philip H says:

                As I read Congress’s bill database, the Amash bill in the House and the Markey/Warren/Sanders bill in the Senate are both in the respective Judicial Committees. The Senate bill will no doubt die in committee. The House bill… well, that may depend on how things are looking for the Democratic members who got elected from districts Trump won.Report

              • Pihlip H in reply to Michael Cain says:

                right but there’s a house – passed bill with QI reform that’s been reported to the senate and not yet assigned to committee. Like most of the legislation passed this COngress.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Pihlip H says:

                It got put on the calendar on the 20th of this month (9 days ago).

                What does “putting it on the calendar” mean?Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                it exists and its being sent over from the House is acknowledged. Its a thing the Senate can choose to take up.

                But there’s a lot of stuff on the Senate Legislative Calendar that has not been sent to committee (I saw one statistic that says over 450 bills). And the way the Senate works once Its received and read (the first two steps) it has to go to committee for mark up – which is where the Senate either rewrites the bill or writes its counterpart that eventually gets debated. And there’s the issue that a bill form the House can get to an authorizing committee (like Senate Commerce) who acts on it and then it gets floor debate, but of the Commerce, Science, Justice and Related Agencies Approps bill isn’t marked up to fund the House bill then it becomes an unfunded mandate. and let me tell ya, we feds hate unfunded mandates because the represent a failure of Congress to do its duty to fund government.

                Hopefully that is inside baseball enough for you.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                So am I right in assuming that “we need to give all cops implicit bias training” would qualify as an unfunded mandate but something like “the government will no longer recognize qualified immunity” would not be an unfunded mandate?Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Pihlip H says:

                Is there a number for that bill? Most of the media are yammering about the Amash bill, which is still in committee in the House.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Michael Cain says:

                H.R.7120 – George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020Report