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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) leans hard right and opposes marijuana legalization [AP Photo]
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Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) leans hard right and opposes marijuana legalization
[AP Photo]

There he goes, again.

The cannabis community was already concerned about Donald Trump’s selection of pot-hating Sen. Jeff Sessions, a notorious Alabama racist, for the Attorney General position in his presidential cabinet. Now, Trump’s picked far-right conservative Rep. Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

“So what’s wrong with Tom Price?” You may be asking. Let me tell you.

Since the focus of this website is cannabis, that’s where we’ll begin. Rep. Price, 62, enjoys a lowly “D” rating from the National Organization of Marijuana Laws. It’s surprising, frankly, that Price didn’t get an “F,” since he voted against the Veterans Equal Access Amendment of 2016, the McClintock/Polis Amendment of 2015, the Rohrabacher/Farr Amendment of 2015, and the Veterans Equal Access Amendment of 2015. I could go on, but you get the point.

NORML gives Price, who chairs the House Budget Committee, an overall score of 0 percent, as in “opposes all forms of marijuana decriminalization.”

chuck schumer trump appointment
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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York):
Price is “far out of the mainstream of what Americans want”
[Jason Reed / Reuters]

Ballotpedia concurs, listing Price as having the “never legalize marijuana” position, as pointed out by William “Stash” Jones over at the Oregon Cannabis Connection.

Nominee Also Fails By Other Meaningful Measures

But for those of us who, politically, look beyond the cannabis issue for other indicators of whether this guy is a regressive scumbag, the signs are definitely not encouraging.

He opposes green technology research, gay marriage, and a woman’s right to choose, and favors prayer in school, as well as expanding the already bloated military (despite the propaganda you hear from unimaginably wealthy defense contractors, the United States spends a larger portion of its budget on military expenditures than any other nation on Earth).

The two “litmus tests” that got Price the nomination are almost certainly his opposition to legal abortion, and his opposition to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but of course, those conservative positions are concurrent with the rest of his hidebound, stuffed-shirt views, including his position on marijuana.

Obviously, the fact that he was chosen for those two reasons — while completely ignoring his staunch anti-marijuana stance — tells us a hell of a lot about Trump’s attitude towards the cannabis community, as in, he thinks we’re not really important enough to be a factor. If members of the marijuana community are going to be run over by the Trump Train, I guess The Donald just considers us collateral damage.

Recent arguments that “the train has left the station”, or “the cat is out of the bag” in terms of cannabis legalization are amazingly naïve. Those saying such things had better check who those new leaders in Washington are, since they set the agenda. It certainly appears that Trump is doing everything he can to make it hard to finally end cannabis prohibition, and he doesn’t really care. Anyone who thinks a President Donald Trump is good for the cannabis legalization movement is fooling themselves and not well informed. ~ William “Stash” Jones, Oregon Cannabis Connection

trudy ring trump nomination
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Trudy Ring, The Advocate:
Price “called the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality decision a ‘sad day for marriage,’ and supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage”
[The Advocate]

Senate Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer said Price is “far out of the mainstream of what Americans want” for health care programs and services for seniors, the disabled and women, according to AP White House Correspondent Julie Price.

“Nominating Congressman Price to be the HHS secretary is akin to asking the fox to guard the hen house,” Schumer said. The nominee will reportedly be Trump’s “point person” in dismantling Obamacare, report Amy Goldstein and Philip Rucker at The Washington PostFor those of who who absorb information from sources other than the fact-challenged right wing echo chamber, Obamacare “has brought health insurance to millions who previously could not obtain affordable coverage and has an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination provision,” reports Trudy Ring at The Advocate.

In addition to being an opponent of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, he has a string of zeroes on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard for opposing LGBT rights. He called the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality decision “a sad day for marriage,” supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and even voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which allocates additional federal resources to investigate and prosecute crimes that are based on a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. He also is against abortion rights and opposes federal funding for Planned Parenthood. ~ Trudy Ring, The Advocate

“Yet again, Trump has tapped a Cabinet nominee with a disturbing history of putting the interests of corporations and lobbyists ahead of working families,” said Stephanie Taylor, cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “The American people need an affordable solution — like the public option — to the skyrocketing cost of health care. Instead Tom Price wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, privatize Medicare, and gut Medicaid — stripping healthcare from millions of Americans. The American people deserve an HHS secretary who will put their lives ahead of the bottom lines of Big Pharma and Big Insurance.” 

Stephanie Taylor, Progressive Change Campaign Committee: "Quote" [C-SPAN]
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Stephanie Taylor,
Progressive Change Campaign Committee:

“Yet again, Trump has tapped a Cabinet nominee with a disturbing history of putting the interests of corporations and lobbyists ahead of working families”
[C-SPAN]

“Rep. Price and President-elect Trump want to bring our country back to a time before reproductive health care access and a woman’s right to choose; this is unacceptable,” said Shaunna Thomas, cofounder of women’s advocacy organization UltraViolet Action. “Senate Republicans and Democrats must reject Trump’s selection of Rep. Price, an extreme anti-woman activist, and protect a woman’s right to access affordable health care, including birth control.”

“If Price had his way, millions of women could be cut off from Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services like birth control, cancer screenings and STD tests,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, reports David Jackson at USA Today.

Rep. Price once challenged a reporter to “bring me one woman” who hasn’t been able to afford birth control. One senses Tom might be a bit out of touch with his constituents.

The nominee’s “insider” status on Capitol Hill almost guarantee him confirmation by Congress, given his years in political office. That swamp sure doesn’t looked “drained” to me.

Are you feeling unimportant, yet, in Trump’s scheme of things?

 

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