California Democrats call for marijuana legalization, fracking ban

California Democrats on Sunday unanimously approved a platform that calls for the legalization of marijuana and an immediate ban on the oil-and-gas industry practice known as fracking.

There was no debate on the proposals, only cheers and then a voice vote at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where a few hundred delegates gathered on the final day of the state Democratic Party’s annual convention.

On the marijuana issue, state Democrats “support the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana, in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol,” the platform reads.

California already allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, was a controversial matter all weekend, with protesters interrupting Gov. Jerry Brown’s speech to the convention Saturday, unhappy that he has not moved to ban the controversial practice, which involves injecting chemicals, sand and water deep into the ground to release oil and gas.

Bay Area billionaire Tom Steyer announced Saturday that he would push for legislation forbidding fracking without the approval of two-thirds of the voters in any county where it is proposed.

On Sunday, convention delegates approved a platform amendment calling for “an immediate moratorium on fracking, acidizing and other forms of oil/gas well stimulation.”

Opponents of fracking say it pollutes groundwater and does other damage.

Beverly Brown, a delegate from La Mirada, called the marijuana-legalization and fracking-ban amendments “absolutely great.”

“I supported it [marijuana legalization] because hopefully it will stop Hispanic and black kids from being put in jail for minute quantities of marijuana,” said the 82-year-old retired nurse practitioner.

Fracking should be banned, she said, because “the whole planet needs water that is not toxic to survive.”


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