Leading Candidate For Biden’s Drug Czar Embraced Marijuana’s Health And Economic Benefits

MJ moment

President Joe Biden’s leading candidate to be White House drug czar has played a critical role in overseeing the implementation and expansion of a state medical marijuana program and has publicly recognized both the therapeutic and economic potential of cannabis reform. Rahul Gupta, the former chair of the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board who also served as the lead on drug policy in Biden’s presidential transition team, is reportedly the top pick to head the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), according to Filter—though no formal announcement has yet been made. The ONDCP director, commonly known as “drug czar,” is explicitly required under statute to oppose efforts to legalize currently controlled substances. As such, it would be a significant departure from the norm to have someone fill that role who has repeatedly touted the medical value of marijuana—saying, for example, that it can “help citizens suffering from debilitating diseases like cancer”—and who has worked to institute a state-legal cannabis program that authorizes people to carry out activities that are in contravention of federal law. That said, harm reduction advocates have been quick to criticize Gupta’s record, pointing out that, during his time as commissioner for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Bureau for Public Health, he oversaw the decertification of a syringe access program that was designed to mitigate the spread of diseases like HIV and offer resources to people with substance misuse disorders. Prohibitionists, for their part, have also been closely following ONDCP appointment developments. They’ve held out hope that the president would select someone whose views more closely align with their own, such as former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), a cofounder of anti-legalization organization Smart Approaches To Marijuana, who has been personally lobbying for the nomination. Whether Gupta gets the pick,…

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Source : Leading Candidate For Biden’s Drug Czar Embraced Marijuana’s Health And Economic Benefits

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