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STEVE ELLIOTT

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The appointment is a political reward. Marino was the first Pennsylvania Congressman to endorse Trump back in May 2016.
[The Pike County Courier]

It should come as no surprise to those of us who have been paying attention: GOP Congressman Tom Marino (R-Pennsylvania), who has repeatedly voted against marijuana policy reform, will be appointed the next director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The position is also known as the “drug czar.”

Marino hates cannabis so much, he’s voted against every piece of marijuana legislation which has come before him. According to Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority, Marino even voted against limited, mild-mannered CBD bills and bills which would have benefited military veterans.

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Rep. Marino clashed with DEA diversion chief Jeff Rannazzissi over Big Pharma-friendly legislation, then demanded he be investigated
[The Washington Post]

The appointment is an obvious political reward. Rep. Marino was the first Pennsylvania Congressman to endorse Trump, as reported by The Pike County Courier back in March 2016.

“We are disappointed but not at all surprised to hear a marijuana prohibitionist is being selected as the next drug czar,” said Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “After all, whoever fills the position is required by law to oppose any attempts to legalize the use of marijuana for any purpose.

“Despite a steady stream of anti-marijuana drug czars over the past several decades, 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical use and eight states have enacted laws regulating it for adult use,” Capecchi said. “We expect that trend to continue regardless of who the next drug czar is.

“President Trump repeatedly said he believes states should be able to determine their own marijuana policies, and the vast majority of Americans agree,” Capecchi said. “We remain hopeful that the administration will respect state marijuana laws. It is also critical that Congress take action to ease the tension that exists between state and federal marijuana laws.”

Marino, who will need Senate confirmation to officially become drug czar, is in the final stages of completing his paperwork and an official announcement is forthcoming, reports CBS News. When asked for comment, the White House said it had no personnel announcements at this time. Marino’s office had no comment either.

The outlook is grim. Marino — a former prosecutor — authored the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act to crack down on drug trafficking across borders. He also wrote an even more controversial drug enforcement bill that increases collaboration between prescription drug distributors and the Drug Enforcement Administration to “combat drug abuse” i.e., lock down the market so that only Big Pharma gets to profit from the sale of harsh narcotics while simultaneously making organic marijuana flowers harder to access.

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Marino’s biggest campaign contributor? Big Pharma. Hmm…
[OpenSecrets.org]

Critics argue that Marino’s bill, which President Obama unfortunately signed last spring, effectively reduces the DEA’s ability to prosecute corporate drug distributors who have greatly profited from the opioid epidemic. That’s not surprising, since the pharmaceutical industry is Rep. Marino’s biggest campaign contributor.

Marino is so in the pocket of Big Pharma, he clashed with DEA diversion control chief Joseph Rannazzisi disagreeing with his bill, report Lenny Bernstein and Scott Higham at The Washington Post. Marino then demanded that Rannazzisi be investigated for trying to “intimidate” members of Congress.

Marino told DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart that Congress was sending the DEA a message: “You should take a serious look at your regulatory culture and seek collaboration with legitimate companies that want to do the right thing.”

“One treatment option I have advocated for years would be placing nondealer, nonviolent drug abusers in a secured hospital-type setting under the constant care of health professionals,” Marino wrote, reports Reason. “Once the person agrees to plead guilty to possession, he or she will be placed in an intensive treatment program until experts determine that they should be released under intense supervision. If this is accomplished, then the charges are dropped against that person. The charges are only filed to have an incentive for that person to enter the hospital-slash-prison, if you want to call it.”

Marino served on Trump’s transition team executive committee, reports Casey Ross at StatA special election will be held in Pennsylvania to replace his seat in the House, reports Candy Woodall at Penn Live.

 

 

 

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