This week a story about the White House’s secret anti-cannabis misinformation agenda has made the rounds in the mainstream media and weed-specific news sources alike. BuzzFeed News first broke the story, which claims that anonymous government staff members and documents reveal a nation-wide attempt to gather information on the damaging effects of cannabis and “turn the tide” of growing popular support for marijuana legalization.
The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee has engaged the participation of the Drug Enforcement Administration and 14 other federal agencies to help them compile anti-cannabis data, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Education, Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Transportation.
Each of these agencies were issued a memo with a homework assignment: they were asked to submit a two-page bulleted fact sheet identifying “marijuana threats; issues created by state marijuana initiatives; and consequences of use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security.”
The agencies were also asked to provide a helpful anecdote about how cannabis use has caused harm, a “story, relating an incident or picture, that illustrates one or more the key areas of concern related to use, production, and trafficking of marijuana.”
The committee is coordinated by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which confirmed to BuzzFeed that it is “asking each agency to provide information on marijuana.” While the government departments were reluctant to issue more details to BuzzFeed, none of them denied the existance of the memo.
But the question remains: who is the architect behind such a coordinated anti-cannabis effort? President Donald Trump announced only last June that he “really” supports a bipartisan effort that would essentially neuter the federal government from being able to interfere with state-legalized cannabis.
The current administration’s most vocal anti-cannabis figure is Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who’s not exactly cozy with the white house right now, so it’s hard to imagine him having the kind of pull that would allow this expansive project. So who’s got the bug up their ass when it comes to weed?