In August, Buzzfeed News reported that Donald Trump’s White House has been secretly staging a marijuana policy coordination committee. One of the committee’s primary intentions was to change the public narrative regarding cannabis and its legalization toward the negative. To accomplish this goal, requests were sent to various federal agencies to “identify marijuana threats; issues created by state marijuana initiatives; and consequences of use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security.”
Though the White House denied any such committee existing at the time, they have since confirmed its existence, according to Buzzfeed News. But the White House denies skewing the public cannabis narrative with any bias or malice. In a letter to Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) denied any intention to dismiss health and social benefits regarding cannabis.
“I assure you that ONDCP seeks all perspectives, positive or negative, when formulating Administration policy. You 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,” ONDCP acting Director James Carroll wrote in a letter to Bennet dated Sept. 21.
Buzzfeed’s initial report caused considerable backlash among politicians and constituents alike. Among those politicians was Bennet, who labeled the committee as an “intentional effort to mislead the American people.”
“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 in a letter back in August.
That August letter also included an olive branch from Bennett. He told the ONDCP that the eight state with adult-use marijuana legalization were willing to work with the administration.
Now Bennet is hoping the White House keeps their new promise.
“In Colorado, we’ve made a deliberate effort to ensure fact-based data informs our marijuana policies,” the senator said in a statement to Buzzfeed. “Government-sponsored propaganda shouldn’t undermine that effort. I intend to hold the ONDCP to its commitment to present objective and scientific information about marijuana to the American public.”