FRIDAY UPDATE: Denver7’s Blair Miller:
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet on Thursday sent a scathing letter to the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy urging the administration to reconsider its quest to gather negative data about legal marijuana programs, like the one in Colorado…
In his letter Thursday to James Carroll, the acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Bennet said that Trump and his administration “has further eroded any credibility it had on the issue” and that the committee’s work would “further contribute to the Administration’s incoherent and backward-looking policy on marijuana enforcement and regulation.”
“At a time when we should be investing in objective and peer-reviewed scientific research on marijuana and the effects of legalization, the White House is instead using taxpayer money to spread a politically-driven narrative,” Bennet wrote. “What’s perhaps most unfortunate is that my state and others stand ready to work as partners with the federal government to gather the data and research necessary to ensure we are protecting public health and safety.”
Isn’t this what Sen. Cory Gardner, the “Trump whisperer” on all matters marijuana, should be saying?
The Denver Post’s Anna Staver reports on a story that once again has Colorado’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry facing the prospect of a big buzzkill:
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, remains “confident” President Donald Trump will keep his promise not to meddle with state marijuana policy despite a report that the White House asked federal agencies to compile statistics and stories that paint the drug in a negative light.
“There seems to be a lot of interest in these storylines going around about how staff are trying to manipulate the president or to work around his firmly held policy positions – including the position he’s held since the campaign that marijuana policy is best left to the states …,” Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano said.
The storyline comes from an article first published Wednesday by BuzzFeed News about The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee. It reportedly asked 14 federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration to provide “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” about marijuana and how it might threaten the country. The reported purpose behind amassing all these data points was to brief the president.
Not to worry, says Sen. Gardner, who received a large helping of credit for “saving” Colorado’s marijuana industry from the threat of a crackdown by Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he interceded with Trump earlier this year. But setting aside the strange bedfellows of a conservative Republican championing the marijuana business, an act of political expediency that Gardner has reportedly had to explain to a great many unhappy fellow conservatives, there’s the larger problem that Gardner really has no control over the capricious decisionmaking of the Trump administration. Just like North Korea or any other matter on which Gardner has tried to run cover for Trump, he’s at the mercy of Trump’s inconsistency.
Which means that, well, sure. If Trump decides it’s in his best political interests to crack down on weed despite it all, you can expect Cory Gardner will be left flapping in the breeze without even a moment’s consideration. In that event, we can only hope that the voices who praised Gardner so loudly for protecting their reefer last time will realize that a counterintuitive friend is oftentimes a fair-weather friend, too.