On October 1, Buzzfeed News published a leaked letter from Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) acting director James Carroll, in which he confirms the existence of a suspected inter-agency anti-marijuana committee, called the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee.
Carroll’s letter was a response to Colorado Senator Michael Bennett, who contacted the director following the August 29 Buzzfeed News article that broke the story about the committee’s solicitation of “data demonstrating negative trends” about marijuana from 14 federal agencies and the DEA.
A committee meeting summary declared “an urgent need [for the Trump Administration] to message the facts about the negative impacts of marijuana use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security.” Carroll, in contrast, emphasized that the committee seeks “hard data, science, and evidence from the field” and “all perspectives, positive or negative” when considering drug policy.
But what Carroll calls “reducing knowledge gaps on the consequences of all drug use,” Senator Bennett calls “cherry-picking data to support pre-ordained and misinformed conclusions on marijuana” and an “intentional effort to mislead the American People.”
The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee’s aims to inform–or misinform, depending on your perspective–President Trump, who has publicly stated support for letting states decide on marijuana legalization.
Although Carroll mentioned research that seeks to enhance the safety and efficacy of THC-based medications, the Committee has not publicly described the specific research they’ve relied on thus far. However, Carroll committed himself and ONDCP to unbiased research practices.
“You [Senator Bennett] have my full and firm commitment that ONDCP will be completely objective and dispassionate in collecting all relevant facts and peer-reviewed scientific research on all drugs, including marijuana,” he wrote.
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