President Donald Trump says he supports reforming America's marijuana laws, but his administration has been mounting a misinformation campaign designed to wage war on the movement to repeal marijuana prohibition in America.
Earlier today, BuzzFeed News reported that the White House has secretly assembled a committee of members from the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, State, Health and other government agencies for the purpose of counteracting support for cannabis legalization. The secret group - known as the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee - has been tasked with promoting negative aspects of cannabis and characterizing marijuana as a national threat.
"The prevailing marijuana narrative in the US is partial, one-sided, and inaccurate," the committee claimed in a written summary of a July 27 meeting that was obtained by BuzzFeed. "Staff believe that if the administration is to turn the tide on increasing marijuana use 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."
In response, White House officials released a memo calling on federal departments to provide "the most significant data demonstrating negative trends, with a statement describing the implications of such trends.”
Of course, those trends will be hard to find since states that have legalized cannabis have seen a drop in underage consumption. Meanwhile, the DEA has made clear that nobody has ever died from overdosing on marijuana, which could actually help save thousands of American lives that are being lost every year to the opioid epidemic. So marijuana-hating members of Trump's cabinet - like Attorney General Jeff Sessions - will have a tough time finding a shred of evidence to support their 'reefer madness' approach to cannabis policy.
Meanwhile, the committee's outdated stance will not only face backlash from cannabis advocates but the majority of the American people as well as the bulk of states in the union.
“In an era where 31 states now regulate marijuana sales and where more six out of ten voters endorse legalizing the plant’s use by adults, it makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or cultural perspective to try to put this genie back in the bottle," NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said via press release. "It is high time that members of Congress take action to deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and comport federal law with majority public opinion and the plant’s rapidly changing legal and cultural status."
Strekal added that the federal committee's efforts will only repeat horrendous mistakes of the past.
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been a lifelong advocate for the failed policies of the 'Just Say No' era — which has resulted in the arrests of millions of otherwise law abiding citizens who possessed personal use amounts of marijuana."
But rather than being intimidated by the Trump administration's commitment to undo the legalization movement's progress, Strekal dismissed the committee as a pathetic attempt to salvage a failed policy.
"These are the death rattles of marijuana prohibition. Those who seek to maintain the oppressive policies of cannabis criminalization are grasping at straws in their effort to undo the public policy progresses that have now been enacted in a majority of states, and that are widely supported by voters of both major political parties."
Voters could hammer more nails in the coffin of cannabis prohibition this fall by voting in favor of state ballot initiatives to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri and Utah, or recreational use in Michigan and North Dakota.