Over the weekend the California Democratic Party decided to make support for marijuana legalization part of their official platform. From the Sacramento Bee:
The platform calls for the party to “support the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana, in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol.” [...]
In a speech to delegates on Saturday, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a supporter of legalization, said “it’s time to legalize, it’s time to tax, it’s time to regulate marijuana.”
He said, “This is a serious debate for serious people … This is not a debate about stoners.”
Even though Democrats fully control the California government this doesn’t mean the will move on legalization this year. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) continues to shows his age by opposing the change.
What this does indicate is that legalization in California is inevitable. The decision was made by the activists, volunteers, donors, and local party officials which keep the political machine which dominates California running. This is what they want and with popular support behind them they are eventually going to get it. While there are still many older democrats in top position who continue to oppose legalization, it is going to be tough for new politicians to rise up through the ranks of the California Democratic party unless they back reform.
This is how marijuana legalization is moved into the political mainstream.
Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy