Capitol Alert: California Democrats add marijuana legalization, fracking moratorium to platform

dsiders@sacbee.comMarch 9, 2014 

LOS ANGELES - The California Democratic Party added planks to its platform Sunday calling for the legalization of marijuana and a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.

The platform's adoption, on a unanimous or near-unanimous voice vote, reflected the influence of the party's more liberal wing at its annual convention. Both positions are at odds with Gov. Jerry Brown. The Democratic governor has expressed reservations about legalizing marijuana and faced protests when he spoke here Saturday over his permissiveness of hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of oil extraction.

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."

On hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the party calls for "an immediate moratorium on fracking, acidizing, and other forms of oil/gas well stimulation" until more restrictive regulations are enacted.

The platform change comes a week after Brown made headlines with remarks critical of marijuana legalization.

"Well, we have medical marijuana, which gets very close to what they have in Colorado and Washington," Brown said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I'd really like those two states to show us how it's going to work."

Brown feared advertising and the legitimization of marijuana use could lead to a lack of alertness by the citizenry.

"The world's pretty dangerous, very competitive," Brown said. "I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together."

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."

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