Where does president Donald Trump stand on cannabis reform? Does he support an end to federal prohibition or continued federal prohibition?
While on the campaign trail as a presidential candidate, and while in office, president Trump has expressed support for cannabis reform.
The expressed support has resulted in many people in the United States considering Trump to be a pro-cannabis president.
However, a story reported by Dominic Holden at Buzz Feed News has cast doubt on that belief for many people.
Here's the big question we all need to be asking:
What is the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee?
According to the report, the Trump administration has amassed a committee of federal agencies to combat public support for cannabis.
The committee is alleged to be working to 'cast state legalization measures in a negative light' and to try to portray cannabis as a national threat.
While the White House would not discuss details of the committee's work, a representative from the Education Department confirmed with Buzz Feed News that the committee did indeed exist.
Apparently, committee members were tasked to come up with negative cannabis talking points, and the representative from the Education Department confirmed that their department completed the task.
The Trump Administration provided a delayed response to the report, essentially stating that the administration would not 'discuss the deliberative process used to craft the president's agenda.'
Federal politicians react to the news
In reaction to the report, United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) tweeted:
The White House is mounting a secret campaign to undermine the will of millions of voters in Oregon and across the country who decided to allow legal cannabis. Another example of Republicans being for states rights only when they think the state is right. https://t.co/bRXjOQ1vk8— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) August 29, 2018
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) also had harsh words about the report of the committee's existence and work.
"This White House is utterly out of touch. Prohibition has failed—no amount of manufactured counter-narrative can stop the marijuana reform movement," Congressman Blumenauer tweeted.
One federal politician that should absolutely be appalled by the report is Senator Cory Gardner, who lifted an appointment embargo recently in exchange for a promise from Trump to support cannabis reform.
But instead of the senator coming out swinging, he had his communications director put out a very soft public statement.
The senior senator from Colorado, Senator Michael Bennet, put out a much more strongly worded response urging the president to end the effort.
Should the cannabis community be worried?
As previously stated, Trump has publicly expressed support for cannabis reform on a number of occasions.
To be fair, president Trump also appointed Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General and didn't prevent Sessions from rescinding pro-cannabis, Obama-era guidance.
It's too early to tell exactly what the creation of the committee means, or for that matter if Trump supports it.
It could potentially come out that Trump wasn't aware of the committee's work and that it was just bureaucracy going rogue.
Ultimately, only time will tell. If Trump steps in and kills the effort, then it would further bolster the case that he is truly pro-cannabis reform.
However, if he allows the effort to continue and doesn't outright condemn it, and, soon, then at the very least, he is willfully enabling reefer madness bureaucrats to push an anti-cannabis agenda.
It could be indicative of a greater anti-cannabis effort to come, which would be bad news for cannabis consumers and the emerging cannabis industry, regardless of how successful an effort would be.
We will all have to wait and see which of the two it is. For the sake of reason, compassion, and sensible public policy the Green Flower team is hopeful that it's the former and not the latter.
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