Representative Tom Marino (R-PA), Trump’s pick as the head of the National Office of Drug Control and Policy, aka drug czar, has now asked to have his name removed from consideration. This announcement comes after a recent 60 Minutes investigation, which brought to light that he had supported the Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, that made it much harder for the government to go after pharmaceutical companies. This information was public knowledge, but it’s safe to say a lot of Americans didn’t notice. The bill, which made it difficult for the DEA to stop shipments of unauthorized prescription drugs, easily passed both the House and Senate, and was signed has been credited with the ballooning opiate crisis, which Trump has said he would declare a national emergency as soon as next week.
Marino has taken a number of donations from pharmaceutical lobbyists, many of which came because of his support of the Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) called upon Trump to withdraw Marino’s name from consideration. Manchin is about as corporate as they come, so when someone like him is calling you out, that’s when you know you have problems.
That’s three agencies now that have no one at the helm: the National Office of Drug Control and Policy, the DEA, and the Department of Health and Human Services. One wonders how this will affect the worsening opiate crisis, as well as any impending crackdowns on legal cannabis. With no one at the head of any of these departments, there is not a whole lot that can be done, especially in the case of a crackdown, especially since it looks like Jeff Sessions is backing off.
I’m not sad to see him go. Tom Marino is no friend to the legalization cause or the cannabis industry. He thinks cannabis should be made into a pill, and doesn’t think people should be able to smoke it. He says that cannabis should be studied more, but has expressed no desire to see it moved off of Schedule I. As far as picks for drug czar go, Marino was probably the worst person Trump could have picked. If Trump ever gets around to nominating anyone else, they’ll probably be just as bad. We can hope that Trump forgets that he needs to nominate someone else, which seems highly likely.
Trump has said in the past that his administration would take the opiate crisis very seriously and would do whatever they could to address it. If Trump is serious about addressing it, there’s one thing he can do that is guaranteed to be effective: he can legalize cannabis.
Source: The Hill
Image Source: Politico
Will Trump find a drug czar, or will this post sit vacant like the others have? Share in the comments!