Now we're getting somewhere.

This election cycle, everyone should know most politicians are in favor of some sort of step towards marijuana legalization and some sort of step towards ending the institutionalized racism that's lead to so much police brutality and death.

However, the primary sentiment amongst the men and women running for office seems to be in favor of a state's right to choose how to handle these things, which is diplomatic way of saying "I don't fucking know, you figure it out."

While state-by-state weed legalization and protective legislation for minorities against law enforcement bias is definitely better than nothing, it still places the states at odds with the federal government. In terms of weed, doing so creates a regulatory nightmare in which states can't bank, interstate trafficking becomes the problem of local police whose attention is shifted away from more important things, and no one can make nearly as much profit as they could if it were federally legal. In terms of racial profiling, it creates pockets of the country where racism is more easily exercised; where the legal system's innate bias toward protecting law enforcement no matter what they've done wrong can live on.

That's why the Democratic party's unexpected endorsement of legal marijuana and an end to racial profiling comes as such a surprise. We knew they'd get there eventually, but suddenly, they seem raring to go now.

Over the weekend, the party officially endorsed a “reasoned pathway to future legalization” of marijuana and called for the drug to be downgraded in the Controlled Substances Act. In addition to that refreshingly progressive standpoint, they also called for an end to the racial profiling and police bias that has been tearing this nation apart.

The text of the marijuana amendment:

Because of conflicting laws concerning marijuana, both on the federal and state levels, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from its list as a Class 1 Federal Controlled Substance, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization.

The text of the criminal justice amendment:

We will work with police chiefs to invest in training for officers on issues such as de-escalation and the creation of national guidelines for the appropriate use of force, including how to de-escalate situations. We will encourage better police-community relations, require the use of body cameras, and stop the use of weapons of war that have no place in our communities. We will end racial profiling that targets individuals solely on race, religion, ethnicity, and national origin, which is un-American and counterproductive. We should report national data on policing strategies and provide greater transparency and accountability. We will require the Department of Justice to investigate all questionable or suspicious police-involved shootings, and we will support states and localities who help make those investigations and prosecutions more transparent, including through reforming the grand jury process.

… Did Bernie Sanders just promise all these senators and congressmen a free back massage or something?

The party's sudden rallying around these issues is directly in line with trends in public attitude towards things like weed and systematic racism, but we guess we just didn't expect for all of them to unite so quickly or smoothly. Maybe they all became BFFs during that gun control sit-in they pulled last month? It's an interesting tactic, especially considering their opponents in Republican World have had a much harder time finding common ground.

Of course, it's important to note that Democrats haven't endorsed the full-scale legalization of weed; simply its rescheduling away from Schedule 1, a category it currently shares with heroin and meth. Coincidentally, that's exactly the debate the DEA is having right now: if we were to reschedule weed, how would it be scheduled? Regardless of how it's categorized at the end of the DEA's meeting, rescheduling it will allow marijuana research to proliferate so that we can finally get the definitive answers we've been looking for as to how it both helps and potentially harms us. If it's found to be definitively helpful and harmless, that's the kind of evidence legislators would need to de-schedule it and legalize it entirely.

Vis-a-vis the Democratic party's support of this process: it's a small step forward, but a step nonetheless.

Okay, now about the racial profiling thing.

Of course everyone (with a soul) wants to end it.

But until now, the subject of racial targeting by police hasn't received as much political acknowledgment as it should, especially on the scale of an entire party platform.

To have an entire party rally around trying to end it is to recognize, at the highest level of legislative power, that something has to be done. More than that, it takes a concrete first step in that direction by making it a primary part of the Democratic platform. It's not palpable reform, it's not a new law, but it's something.

Right now, the Democratic party's sheer acknowledgement of an obvious issue won't necessarily save lives or change biased behaviors overnight. And it won't immediately legalize, or deschedule, weed either. These things take time, time that the targets of racial profiling or petty weed users don't have.

Our political system is a slow-moving horse. The system of democracy we have in place — the same one we reference when we invoke our right to free speech, remain silent or bear arms — calls for careful consideration of issues before they can be legislated on, as well as the convincing of boatloads of staunch men and women who've taken an oath to represent the wishes of their constituents. It's easy to be impatient with this; after all, people are dying. People are being slammed with life sentences for negligible weed possession. It's nuts and it sucks. But acknowledgement is the first step toward a tangible difference. And it's a hell of a lot better than denial, something we've seen our government do with regards to the gun control crisis.

So, congrats to Democrats for uniting around these things. We'll wait with bated breath to see how their platform plays out in real life, but until then, it's at least nice to know that someone wants us to smoke weed and not get murdered.