Current levels of public support are clearly pro cannabis
Millions of people consume marijuana in the US. A Quinnipiac University Poll also found that 63% of the Americans support marijuana legalization. A clear a majority of Americans, now favor relaxation of the rules surrounding the production and use of the drug, at least at a State level.
FACT: 63% of the Americans support marijuana legalization.
On the whole, medical professionals consider it to be a relatively safe drug. However, there are some political leaders who are still against it, for ideological and, in some case, sensible, science and fact based reasons. For example, Federal data shows that marijuana disorder has decreased nationally since the marijuana consumption rose before it for legalized in Washington, and other states.
The stark difference between state and Federal Laws on cannabis
In Washington, however, the Federal government does not appear to provide a simple, clear, unified answer either in support of, or against, cannabis legalization.
There are elements of the Federal government which refute any medical benefit associated with marijuana and show no willingness to have it re-scheduled from the group it is in: One it shares with more damaging drugs like Heroin and Ice.
The governments position at a Federal level is a natural consequence, in some ways, of the lack of availability of peer reviewed studies or clinical trials to prove its medicinal value.
Jeff Sessions, Attorney General (AG) of the US Federal Court System, has suggested that he is ready to go for war, against States’ rights that keep the marijuana criminalized.
Now the Federal government in the US has convened a committee to fight positive public perceptions of cannabis
Now, according to a Buzz Feed News the White House has secretly conveined a committee, designed to bring to an end to existing public support of marijuana, and to depict its legalization measures in a negative light.
FACT: The White House committee believes that, “There is an urgent need to message the facts about the negative effects of marijuana.”
So far, initial steps taken by the group, have been tentative. The committee has expressed it’s primary concern, that the proposed narrative is unfairly biased around the positive sides of marijuana. A summary of the meeting of White House and nine departments says- “The prevailing marijuana narrative in the U.S. is partial, one-sided, and inaccurate.”
The goal of the committee is a reasonable one, in many senses. In the US, 31 states have legalized marijuana. Critics say that the lax attitudes will promote abuse of the drug, with potentially damaging social effects.
The committee is not taking a balanced stance on the issue
Perhaps less reasonably, however, the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee has given orders to the Drug Enforcement Administration, requiring them to submit the data that they have on the “negative trends” associated with cannabis consumption, explaining any kind of threats that it causes.
The White House believes in marijuana law enforcement. The agenda of the committee they’ve established is to reverse these attitudes and scrutinize these states.
FACT: The committee also believes that, “There is an urgent need to message the facts about the negative effects of marijuana.”
After the initial July 27 kick off meeting for the committee, the White House followed up the next week and instructed Federal agencies to identify their lists of marijuana issues and threats by August 10, 2018. They were also told to identify issues created by marijuana initiatives, and their consequences of use on safety, health and security and to describe the threats of marijuana on National Health and Security.
Lindsay Walters, Deputy White House Secretary told BuzzFeed (link above) that ‘The Trump policy co-ordination is an internal process to craft policies on important issues and ensure that it lies in consistency with the President’s agenda.’ However, none of the documents associated with the committee suggest that officials are seeking data that the consumption of marijuana serves any public benefit – a very one sided view.
Independent bodies lament the introduction of the Federal Committee
A senior official from the Brookings Institution, an American Think Tank Group which oversees public policy, told BuzzFeed that the creation of the committee is a ‘terrible move’ by the administration.
The Institute says that the committee’s agenda, to outweigh the Trump’s pledge to protect the state from federal intervention, creates confusion and division on the issue.
Summing up the Federal / State conflicts over cannabis legislation
Most experts in the field believe cannabis consumption should be treated as a social and health issue, not a criminal one. US Policy on Cannabis legislation is disjointed and disparate and, at least at a Federal level does not believe in that sort of change of approach.
In some ways, the disparity between State and Federal Law, is no bad thing. The US system of Federal oversight and State Law has allowed provinces such as Colorado to trial a change in pubic policy around cannabis consumption and
In the middle of the disagreement lie Trump and Sessions, who enjoy an acrimonious relationship at the best of times. Trump appears, at least in part, to be taking a positive stance on cannabis at a state level in part, at least, simply to annoy Sessions.
If the US is to gain the economic benefits of cannabis legalization it should adopt the same sort of policy stance that it’s nearest neighbor, Canada has so successfully implemented.