California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D) dedicated a large segment of his speech at the state Democratic convention this weekend urging the party to support marijuana legalization. He called on his fellow politicians to come out of the closet and publicly support reform.
(marijuana talk starts at 7:58)
Newsom received a round of applause when he told the crowd it is “time to decriminalize, to tax and regulate marijuana.” He continued by calling the war on drugs an “abject failure” and pointing out the inherently racist way marijuana laws have been enforced over the years.
Newsom is considered a rising star in the state party and is likely to run for the governor in the future.
Although, Newsom’s public call for other elected Democrats to support marijuana reform received relatively little media attention, it speaks volumes how quickly the politics around marijuana legalization have changed in only a few years. Only a decade ago this would have been seen as an act of political self-destruction. Now it is a savvy political move.