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Cannabis Prohibitionist Rep. Marino Named Trump Drug Czar

Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino has been tabbed to serve as drug czar by the Trump Administration, according to a CBS News report. The appointment will see Marino resign from Congress and head up the Office of National Drug Policy Control advising President Donald Trump on drug policy issues.

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According to a Washington Post report, Marino is viewed as a hardliner on drug issues, and once indicated that he’d like to see nonviolent drug offenders put in a “hospital-slash-prison.” MassRoots reports that since 2011 Marino has voted three times against amendments to both prohibit the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical cannabis laws and allowing military veterans to obtain medical cannabis recommendations from Department of Veterans Affairs doctors. Marino also voted against a law to protect CBD programs from federal crackdowns and has at least twice opposed industrial hemp legislation.

“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,” he wrote in May 2016 testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee. “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.”

In an October interview with the Sun-Gazette, Marino indicated that he is “a states’ rights guy” but would only agree to consider legalizing cannabis if there were “a really in-depth medical scientific study.”

“If it does help people one way or another, then produce it in pill form … You can’t smoke it for this, but you take a pill,” he said. “But don’t make an excuse because you want to smoke marijuana. Look what’s happening to states and cities who are legalizing it. They are running into a lot of problems.”

As drug czar, Marino will have less influence than his “Just Say No” counterpart, Attorney General Jeff Sessions; however, the office over which he now presides is responsible for coordinating drug control strategy and federal government funding.