Marijuana and The Green Party
With the 2016 elections quickly approaching and Green Party candidates like Jill Stein coming onto the radar of an increasing number of disillusioned voters, many in the marijuana industry are wondering, just how green is the Green Party? What is the party’s stance on marijuana reform, and would the marijuana industry find some safeguards under Green Party leadership? Would marijuana dispensaries in Colorado and other legal weed states face fewer regulations or more? While Presidential candidate Jill Stein isn't expected to get anywhere near the number of votes she needs to win, she may very well get enough votes to earn the Green Party a spot in future election debates. The Green Party already holds over 100 positions across the nation at the city and county level, and with more and more states opening up to legal marijuana, the party is definitely gaining supporters as well as attention. Here is the lowdown on where the Green Party stands on the green.
Protection for the Marijuana Industry
The Green Party platform includes powerful protections and safeguards for the legal marijuana industry, which is important to states like Colorado where marijuana is big business. Not only does the party platform call for the legalization of cannabis possession, sale, and cultivation, but also the DEA would be instructed to not interfere with or harass legally operating cannabis businesses, from marijuana cultivation centers to marijuana dispensaries and marijuana social clubs. Marijuana entrepreneurs would have some assurance that their businesses could continue, while new marijuana entrepreneurs would have the protection needed to open new businesses and industries.
Amnesty for marijuana offenders
The Green Party platform also calls for serious reforms to how the criminal justice system handles drug offenders. Drug use and abuse would no longer be handled as a crime but as a medical issue, and anyone currently being held on charges for non-violent marijuana crimes would be released.
Opponents worry that the Green Party's stance on drugs goes too far, not only legalizing cannabis but also paving the way for the decriminalization of extremely dangerous drugs such as crack and heroin.
Running on Reefer
Green Party candidates are outspoken in their support of marijuana legalization. Throughout her campaign, Presidential candidate Jill Stein has made reference to the need for drug reform and has voiced her support for marijuana legalization at the national level. Other Green Party candidates are also using marijuana legalization to gain supporters. Vanessa Tijerina, who is running for a congressional seat in southern Texas, has made a point of bringing medical marijuana into the spotlight, campaigning to raise public awareness about the medical benefits of cannabis.
The Future of the Green
With a majority of Americans now supporting marijuana legalization, the Green Party with its pro-cannabis platform could soon become a prominent feature of our country’s political landscape. While they're unlikely to win many races this time around, the mere presence of Green Party candidates on the ballot brings needed attention to marijuana legalization and the millions of citizens who support it. With dispensaries and other marijuana businesses on the line in states like Colorado, the sharp divisions that have separated political parties for decades have already begun to blur.