Congressman Proposes Bill to Repeal Insane Law Which Muzzles the 'Drug Czar' from Saying the Truth About Pot
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Under current U.S. law, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)—a.k.a. the Drug Czar, is not allowed to speak the truth about marijuana. He must oppose its legalization, even for medical use regardless of what science shows, the American people support, or the President says.
Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, thinks so too, so he has introduced a new bill, The Unmuzzle the Drug Czar Act, to repeal that insane ban.
“The ONDCP’s job should be to develop and recommend sane drug control policies, not be handcuffed or muzzled from telling the American people the truth,” Rep. Cohen said. “How can we trust what the Drug Czar says if the law already preordains its position?”
Because of the ban, the Drug Czar and his staff are unfairly prevented from stating their true positions on marijuana policy and are not even allowed to study the legalization of medical marijuana in 20 states and the District of Columbia or the legalization and regulation of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Many believe the ban makes government officials too afraid during congressional hearings to even say scientifically accurate statements like the fact that marijuana is safer than alcohol, heroin and other drugs when asked by members of Congress.
“It’s extraordinary if you really think about it,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, “a federal law prohibiting a federal agency from even studying an issue, and then directing that agency to oppose any reform no matter what scientific or other evidence emerges. That such a law remains on the books is disgraceful. I pity the intellectually honest staff at the drug czar’s office who are muzzled and censored, and effectively compelled to lie when they testify before Congress and speak to the public.”
Clearly, the law has some catching up to do with the rest of the country. A majority of Americans favor legalization, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, and President Obama has now famously said that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, and that legalization in Colorado and Washington should continue. Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Obama administration will announce guidelines that will make it easier for banks to deal with state-legalized marijuana businesses.
So, unless the ludicrous ban is repealed, the Drug Czar would be obliged to take positions against those of both the President who appointed him and the Attorney General, who enforces the law.
Congressman Cohen also put his name on a bipartisan letter asking President Obama to remove marijuana from the federal government’s list of most dangerous, or Schedule I, drugs, which include LSD and heroin. According to the classification system, Cocaine and amphetamines are considered more harmless than pot.