The Trump administration has established a committee to combat growing positive perceptions of cannabis by Americans, according to a report from BuzzFeed News. The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, made up of representatives from agencies throughout the federal government, has been tasked with opposing positive messages about marijuana and analyzing state legalization efforts for flaws, according to the report.
A summary of a meeting between the White House and personnel from nine government departments attacked the public’s positive views.
“The prevailing marijuana narrative in the U.S. is partial, one-sided, and inaccurate,” the summary reads.
The meeting was coordinated by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and included staff from the State, Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services departments.
In a memo from the White House the following week, those federal agencies and the departments of Defense, Education, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs and the Environmental Protection Agency were instructed to provide biased information by August 10. The White House asked for two-page fact sheets with bullet points highlighting the public threats of cannabis and information on state marijuana legalization efforts.
“Departments should provide … the most significant data demonstrating negative trends, with a statement describing the implications of such trends,” the memo reads.
The memo said the White House wanted the 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.”
‘Secret Hate Agenda’
Terrie Best, the San Diego chair of cannabis activist group Americans for Safe Access, told High Times that the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee is the latest tactic of an administration bent on authoritarianism and bias.
“Black folks, weed, what’s next in Trumps’s secret hate agenda? Rock and roll?” asked Best.
“They formed department-wide prohibitionist cabals in our government and armed them with fake news about cannabis in order to overthrow the will of the voting citizens. It’s shameful and deceitful,” she added.
Government Officials Tight-Lipped
Although spokespeople for the government agencies tasked with providing negative information on cannabis declined to comment on the committee itself, some staffers did talk about the actions taken by their respective departments.
Education Department spokesperson Liz Hill said this week that the agency had submitted the information requested by the Trump administration.
“I’m told we did turn it in on time to the White House,” she said.
And a spokesperson from the Department of State said that the agency often discusses drug policy with the White House.
“The State Department regularly coordinates with ONDCP on a wide range of drug control issues. For specific questions about the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, we refer you to ONDCP,” the spokesperson said.
The White House declined to comment on the workings of the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, but Deputy White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters told BuzzFeed News that the working group is an effort to align administration policy with the president’s goals.
“The Trump Administration’s policy coordination process is an internal, deliberative process to craft the president’s policies on a number of important issues facing the American people, and ensure consistency with the president’s agenda,” said Walters.