The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee instructed 14 agencies to dig up negative stories about weed.
Photo by Gage Sickmore via Flickr
The Trump Administration has put together a committee called the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee (MPCC) for the express purpose of promoting anti-cannabis sentiments and interfering with state legalization efforts, according to a report published by Buzzfeed News.
The memos acquired by Buzzfeed, which have not been made public, reveal that the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee instructed fourteen federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration to submit “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” on cannabis and what potential threats cannabis poses to the United States.
One of the memos allegedly says that a growing number of Americans are supporting cannabis (they are) and that the committee is responding by propping up negative facts about cannabis. Another memo, summarizing a White House meeting held on July 27, stated that the narrative favoring cannabis in the United States unjustly places cannabis in a positive light, which was said to be “one-sided and inaccurate.”
The MPCC asked the departments involved to provide negative cannabis trends with descriptions of the implications. One of the arguments used in opposition to cannabis legalization was the belief that ending prohibition would lead to increased use among minors, despite what this study conducted last year by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health suggests.
Buzzfeed points out that the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, while created under the Trump Administration, is at odds with Trump’s cannabis policy. In June of 2018, Trump expressed his support of the Cole Memo, a policy rescinded by Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions which protected state-legal cannabusinesses from federal prosecution. He also claimed that he would leave it up to individual states to decide on cannabis legalization in June; a policy that he also held as a presidential candidate in 2016.
The MPCC’s mission is to convince people who are on the fence about cannabis legalization to oppose it by highlighting the adverse effects of cannabis, in addition to scrutinizing legal states. Buzzfeed News claims that the meeting held on July 27 included the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and State, which met to discuss the MPCC’s cannabis policies.
The following week, other departments such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Defense, Education, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs were asked to submit a two-page bulleted report to “identify marijuana threats; issues created by state marijuana initiatives; and consequences of use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security.”
The agencies were also asked to provide an example of a “story, relating an incident or picture, that illustrates one or more of the key areas of concern related to using, production, and trafficking of marijuana.”
According to Buzzfeed, none of the fourteen agencies, the DEA, or the White House denied the existence of the MPCC. Liz Hill, a representative from the United States Department of Education confirmed that the department she works for returned the document to the White House “on time.”