Did The White House Just Renew The War on Weed?
It’s difficult to imagine that now that more than half the United States has legalized marijuana for both recreational and medical purposes, not to mention the fact that our northern neighbors in Canada are set to launch a fully legal market nationwide in a little over the month, that the U.S. government would even consider renewing the war on weed.
But reefer madness (and apparently absolute lunacy) continues to prevail in the nation’s capital, according to a recent investigative report from BuzzFeed News.
Documents obtained by Buzzfeed News show that the White House has a team that it refers to as the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, which consists of 14 federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration, whose primary mission is to identify “negative trends” associated with marijuana and spot any potential “threats” they could create for the nation.
The committee was not assembled to help guide federal lawmakers into making well-informed decisions with respect to ending federal marijuana prohibition at the national level. But rather, this group’s mission is aimed at reconvincing the population that weed is and always has been a dangerous drug.
In a recent memo, the committee wrote “the prevailing marijuana narrative in the U.S. is partial, one-sided, and inaccurate,” so “departments should provide … the most significant data demonstrating negative trends, with a statement describing the implications of such trends.” In other words, dig up all the dirt you can find on marijuana and disregard any expert testimony, science or anything else that sheds a positive light.
This is an interesting development considering that President Trump said a few months ago that he would “probably” support legislation aimed at giving states the right to legalize without federal interference. He stood on the White House lawn ahead of the G-7 summit and told reporters that a bill introduced by Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was something his administration was seriously considering.
Yet, the latest White House memo suggests a master plan is being devised to ramp up marijuana enforcement in the future.
The faceless head behind this new war on weed claims, “there is an urgent need to message the facts about the negative impacts of marijuana use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security.” To do this, the committee, which is being overseen by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, has ordered all departments to “identify marijuana threats; issues created by state marijuana initiatives; and consequences of use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security.”
The White House and all affiliated government agencies have refused to comment on this scheme.
Republican Representative Tom Garrett of Virginia says he does not believe “Trump was being disingenuous when he said he supported” a bill aimed at eliminating the potential for a federal crackdown antics. But he thinks there is “a lack of control of what’s going on in the executive branch as it relates to marijuana policy,” according to Rolling Stone.
Others, like U.S. Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, which was the first state to legalize for recreational use, are calling it an “intentional effort to mislead the American people.”
“At a time when we should be investing in objective and peer-reviewed scientific research on marijuana and the effects of legalization, the White House is instead using taxpayer money to spread a politically-driven narrative,” Bennet said in a statement.
At this point, it is crucial for Congress to step in and pass a bill aimed at legalizing marijuana at the national level. Otherwise, federal controls will continue to have the power to spend American resources on committees, initiative and other propaganda campaigns designed to reverse the progress the U.S. has made with respect to marijuana reform.
As it stands, nine states, including California, have ended marijuana prohibition altogether. New York will likely be one of the next to get onboard.
But there doesn’t seem to be enough support on Capitol Hill to get bring weed out of the underground. There is hope this could change if the Democrats gain control of the Senate following the upcoming November election. But even if this happens, the party will still need to convince Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (the gatekeeper of the upper chamber) to change his position on marijuana. And that seems unlikely.
Earlier this year, McConnell, who is leading the cause to legalize industrial hemp nationwide, told reporters that he had absolutely no interest in supporting a bill aimed at ending marijuana prohibition.