The White House has tasked a multi-agency committee with countering pro-marijuana messaging, according to a Wednesday report from BuzzFeed News.
The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee reportedly has asked 14 federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration to forward “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” about marijuana and the threats it poses to the country.
The information is reportedly intended for briefings with President Trump and to fight a perceived biased narrative about marijuana.
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,” according to a meeting summary BuzzFeed obtained.
“The prevailing marijuana narrative in the U.S. is partial, one-sided, and inaccurate,” BuzzFeed reported from the summary of a July 27 meeting between the White House and nine departments. “Departments should provide … the most significant data demonstrating negative trends, with a statement describing the implications of such trends.”
The July 27 meeting was coordinated by White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and included the departments of State, Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed.
Despite the committee, Trump has expressed support for bipartisan legislation that would allow states to set their own marijuana policies. His attorney general, Jeff Sessions, however, is a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization.
Alex Siciliano, spokesperson for the author of the legislation, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), told The Hill that the senator is confident the president will continue to support states legalizing marijuana.
“Regardless of the accuracy of the story, Senator Gardner remains confident in the commitment the President made to him to support a states’ rights solution to the current disconnect on marijuana law,” Siciliano wrote in an email.
“Forty-seven states have now acted in a way that is contrary to the Controlled Substances Act and there are more initiatives on the ballot this year. Whatever their decision, these states ought to be respected,” the statement said.
A spokesman for the advocacy organization the Drug Policy Alliance condemned the reported committee in an statement to The Hill.
“To see this White House — that cannot even coordinate an adequate response to the overdose crisis – waste so much time on discussions on how to push anti-marijuana legalization propaganda is mind-boggling, and underscores this Administration’s ineptitude on drug policy,” Michael Collins said in an email.
The State Department confirmed to BuzzFeed that the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy coordinates the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy and the White House did not respond to requests for comment from BuzzFeed