NEWS: General Kelly’s aide, Jim Carroll, named acting Drug Czar; DATA: FOX News Poll puts national legalization support at 59%; GUEST: Travel Guru Rick Steves on his East Coast Legalization swing; RANT: Busting Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s Fentanyl-Laced Marijuana Myth.
White House deputy chief of staff Jim Carroll, who has served in that role for nearly three months, is expected to leave the White House to helm the Office of National Drug Control Policy, two sources with knowledge of the decision told CNN Friday. Carroll, a White House lawyer who quietly became one of chief of staff John Kelly’s deputies late last year, is expected to be tapped as early as Friday. The White House’s first nominee to lead the office, Rep. Tom Marino, withdrew from consideration in October after a report detailed how legislation he sponsored helped make it easier for drug companies to distribute opioids across America. It’s not known if Carroll has any experience with drug policy whatsoever. Prior to his work with the Trump administration, Carroll held several positions with the Ford Motor Company, including a stint as the auto giant’s Washington, DC, counsel.
President Trump is proposing to slash funding for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) by more than 90 percent. Marijuana Moment reports that under the president’s 2019 budget proposal released on Monday, ONDCP, commonly referred to as the drug czar’s office, would receive just over $29 million in funding next year, compared to more than $385 million for this year. One of the office’s largest efforts, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, would be transferred to the Department of Justice under the proposal, which will need approval from Congress to be enacted. Another significant ONDCP program, the Drug-Free Communities Support Program, would be transferred to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The new Trump plan would give U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an ardent opponent of marijuana legalization, greater control over the nation’s anti-drug efforts.
A bipartisan group of 18 U.S. senators is asking congressional leaders to insert new far-reaching protections for state marijuana laws into a must-pass spending bill due next month. An existing provision in federal spending law protects state medical cannabis laws from Justice Department interference, but it does not extend to policies allowing recreational use and sales, and its own continuance in upcoming legislation is in jeopardy after House leaders blocked a vote on it. A current temporary spending bill — and its policy riders like the medical marijuana protections — is set to expire on March 23. Last month, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance that has generally allowed states to implement their own marijuana laws without federal intervention. According to Marijuana Moment, the bipartisan group wants congressional leadership to join them in creating new “precise language that will preserve state laws regarding marijuana regulation until we can establish a longer-term framework.”
Today a former NFL football player and a 12-year-old girl will be heard in federal court as they challenge marijuana’s Schedule I classification. Former New York Jet Marvin Washington and Alexis Bortell, a Texas girl who has successfully treated her epilepsy with cannabis oil for over three years, are among the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit who allege that the government’s claim of no medicinal value in cannabis is untenable when now 46 states recognize some form of medical marijuana. And on Thursday, a panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will convene in San Francisco to hear a separate case to rescind a policy that treats cannabidiol as a Schedule I drug even when it is derived from legal hemp. The Hemp Industries Association and individual businesses are suing the government, claiming that the action puts in jeopardy farmers and researchers who are growing and processing legally grown hemp in accordance with provisions of the congressionally approved Farm Bill.
Despite rejecting a petition from Americans for Safe Access to correct misinformation published by the DEA about cannabis, that information has been removed from the DEA’s website. “At the end of the day, it does not matter why the DEA decided to update their materials,” said attorney Mark Wine, who helped file ASA’s petition. “The key is that this influential organization that Congress relies on to make policy decisions is no longer disseminating mistruths about the gateway theory, and cannabis’ influence on psychosis, cognitive decline, and long-term brain damage.” “This is a giant win for medical cannabis patients, advocates and political allies,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of ASA. “We can only hope that Attorney General Sessions is paying attention to the DEA’s ‘regular review process’ findings.”
VIPs Get Access to Hour Two and Bonus Content
https://www.patreon.com/posts/17017739 – Toker Talk Radio
Former NRA President now says medical marijuana patients should have gun rights; Joe Kennedy III knows he’s out of touch with his party on legalization, doesn’t care; Tampa Sheriff Grady Judd says fentanyl deaths start with marijuana addictions; Attorney General Sessions whines about Sen. Gardner DOJ nominee holds over DOJ marijuana threats.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/17018884 – Bonus audio clips
- POLITICO interviews Joe Kennedy III on his disconnect from Dems on legalization.
- Ohio Sen. Rob Portman keeps pushing the fentanyl-laced marijuana myth.
- Sheriff Grady Judd promotes the gateway drug theory.
- NORML’s Rick Steves interview from Washington DC.