Chris Goldstein is a South Jersey-based marijuana activist

Cannabis reform has received first-round approval to be included in the official platform of the Democratic National Committee. The addition could be finalized with a vote by delegates during the party convention July 25-28 in Philadelphia.

A 15-member DNC panel unanimously adopted the following language this week:

"We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize marijuana should be able to do so. We support policies that will allow more research to be done on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without uncertainty. And we recognize our current marijuana laws have had an unacceptable disparate impact, with arrest rates for marijuana possession among African-Americans far outstripping arrest rates among whites despite similar usage rates."

The position conspicuously stops short of a clear call for legalization but it does align the party with Philly, the largest city to decriminalize marijuana possession.

Bernie Sanders has attracted many young voters to his run with a plan to completely end federal marijuana prohibition. He cemented his platform by introducing a bill in the US Senate to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act in 2015.

Hillary Clinton has expertly maneuvered to hold the tenuous middle-ground on marijuana policy that President Obama has carved out for the White House. Clinton has supported medical marijuana access and even decriminalization but still keeps regulated sales to adults somewhat at arm's length.
The DNC language also hints at an evolution in the political policy for cannabis by mixing direct industry support with the traditional social justice message.
The move is a timely attempt to mine a significant vein of rich ore. Important battleground states and Democratic strongholds are flush with the nouveau riche of the Green Rush. So the DNC is looking to keep many Sanders' supporters within their purview while wooing over the fresh, growing money.
Cannabis business owners have been clamoring to members of Congress about their biggest problem: Too much liquid cash. They need meaningful tax and banking reform, which is still years away.
Until then, the cannabis industry can legally put their prodigious greenbacks into safe deposit boxes of political clout instead of checking accounts. And they haven't been picky about party affiliation thus far.
Marijuana consumers are also crystallizing into an important voting base. They register in droves and turn up at the polls for the issue. California, Maine, Nevada, Massachusetts along with possibly Arizona and Michigan will have full legalization on the ballot right next to the presidential candidates.
Citizens with enough disposable income to buy a few grams of fragrant flowers every week might part with $27 for an online contribution. These are the fuel for the social media engine of current campaigns. 
It's not just liberal hipster millennials looking to smoke Sour Diesel out of steampunk hookas who care about the issue. Marijuana legalization has picked up enough momentum among Republicans to become a core conservative issue for the next generation of the GOP.
Many in the party of Lincoln are also friends of Mary Jane, or at least open to legal reforms. Pennsylvania's push to pass a medical cannabis law drew out some of the most hard-boiled Republicans in the General Assembly to passionately support the issue.
Those kinds of conservatives, young and old, are justifiably skeptical of what would happen to marijuana policy under Donald Trump.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the country's most vocal and hard-line prohibitionist, is the right-hand man of their presumed nominee for President. Clearly, having Christie as the architect of a future White House administration puts all of the ground gained for marijuana under direct threat.
Here again the DNC smells opportunity in the cannabis garden. Those ballot initiatives will bring voters from all parties to the polls. The anti-marijuana Trump/Christie team could move some moderate Republicans and Independents to vote Democrat, at least for one election.
The wavering fingers of those voters may also pause for a moment over the button for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. He served two terms as the Governor of New Mexico when he was a Republican. Johnson's laudable and brutally honest position supporting marijuana legalization has been public since the 1990's.
Indeed, the Libertarian Party and the Green Party have used marijuana supporters to bolster their ranks for years. They could lose a lot of steam if the mainstream oligarchy finally cuddles up to cannabis.
But will turning legalization into a partisan issue be a good thing?
Polling indicates consistently increasing support among both parties. Successful legislative reform at the state level has been refreshingly bi-partisan. So if the Democrats or the Republicans try to hoard the issue then real progress could grind to a halt.
Cannabis reform has been one of the few opportunities for common party divisions to be set aside for some tangible unity. That safe haven for the issue must not be lost, especially in the current political climate.
Both parties must share in the solution because they are both responsible for the problem. It wasn't one law or one person that got us into this quagmire on marijuana, but decades of bad decisions by the elephants and the donkeys.