SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-Colo.) says the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has assured him that an upcoming report on marijuana legalization "will be completely objective and dispassionate." That claim is hard to take seriously, since it contradicts the ONDCP's statutory mandate to oppose marijuana legalization by any means necessary.
BuzzFeed reported in August that the office was coordinating the collection of "data demonstrating the most significant negative trends" that have followed marijuana legalization in states such as Colorado, with an eye toward illustrating the "threats" posed by that policy. The effort, which reportedly involved the Drug Enforcement Administration and 14 other federal agencies, seemed to be aimed at encouraging President Donald Trump to reconsider his promise to let states go their own way on marijuana.
In an August 30 letter to ONDCP Acting Director James Carroll, Bennet expressed concern that the Trump administration was "cherry-picking data to support preordained and misinformed conclusions on marijuana."
"I assure you that the ON DCP seeks all perspectives, positive or negative, when formulating Administration policy," Carroll responded, according to Bennet. "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."
Such evenhandedness would be hard to reconcile with a requirement imposed by the ONDCP Reauthorization Act of 1998, which Congress passed two years after California...