Representative Cohen Introduces the Unmuzzle the Drug Czar Act

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director February 13, 2014

    Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) has introduced federal legislation, House Resolution 4046, to remove legal restrictions prohibiting the Office of National Drug Control Policy from researching marijuana legalization. These restrictions also require the office to oppose any and all efforts to liberalize criminal laws associated with the plant.

    “Not only is the ONDCP the only federal office required by law to oppose rescheduling marijuana even if it is proven to have medical benefits, but it is also prohibited from studying if that could be even be true,” said Congressman Cohen. “The ONDCP’s job should be to develop and recommend sane drug control policies, not be handcuffed or muzzled from telling the American people the truth. How can we trust what the Drug Czar says if the law already preordains its position? My bill would give the ONDCP the freedom to use science—not ideology—in its recommendations and give the American people a reason to trust what they are told.”

    These restrictions were placed on the Office of National Drug Control Policy by the Reauthorization Act of 1998, which mandates the ODCP director “shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that–

    (A) is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
    (B) has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;”

    You can quickly and easily contact your representative by clicking here.

    52 responses to “Representative Cohen Introduces the Unmuzzle the Drug Czar Act”

    1. Who in they’re right mind would dream up a catch 22 act like this. It would appear the someone not only wanted to hide Marijuana but bury it so deep that it couldn’t ever be brought back.
      With all the lies and deception surrounding marijuana. There is something sinister going on.

    2. Mr. Mitch says:

      Interesting news, I saw this on another site before seeing it here. I’m a young man, and regrettable don’t know as much as I should about politics. So I have questions for those of you with more mileage.

      What kind of progress could we gain with legislation like this? Would it be considered a major success in the path of hurdles reform faces?

      I’ve seen recent news concerning the 18 congress members sending a letter to President Obama urging him to reschedule, would this put him in a better position to do so?

      Also, what relationship does the ONDCP have with the DEA?

      From what I’ve read there are many offices and agencies which all seem to have conflicting views, even internally. I read about Obama saying it’s not up to him, rather Congress. Then I see congress urging Obama to instruct Attorney General Holder to relist, all while the DEA James Capra standing firm on enforcing current policy and calling legalization “reckless and irresponsible”.

      Maybe someone can give me a clearer image of how this comes together. I need to be well-informed and accurate so I can be a better advocate.

      I ask these questions and your opinion now, but while I wait for a response I will be searching for the answers on my own. Would just like some input from others.

    3. It is fitting and correct that our representatives are finally acknowledging the fact that marijuana should finally be allowed to come out into the light of day so that the societal ills associated with it can be dealt with in a sane and rational manner! Responsible adults should have legal access to it. “Addicts” should be able to seek treatment without fear of legal ramifications. Non-violent “offenders” should receive pardons. Criminal organizations should lose their “market share” of the cannabis market. Mentorship and education should be energized to insure that this brave new world continues to advance not only peaceably, but prosperous as well. In my opinion, marijuana use entails a great responsibility not only to oneself, but to one’s community and country as well! There are so many considerations that time and space will not permit me to post here now, but we must all make ourselves worthy of these new and great responsibilities that will come upon us with these new and needful societal changes coming!

    4. Chris in WI says:

      Not only does the ONDCP oppose research to tell the truth, the director of the ONDCP is also required to lie, if need be, to prevent research or liberalization of cannabis.

      Cannabis was prohibited because of Hemp’s potential. ‘Marihuana’ was the smoke screen. DuPont, Mellon, et al made way too much money from the MSTA in 37 to conclude otherwise, in my opinion.

    5. mexweed says:

      A conflict of interest involving the government and the tobacco industry seems to me to underlie this prohibition against research which would soon discover that the 500-mg H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide “joint” causes health and behavior issues widely blamed on cannabis.

      And that legalizing cannabis itself would involve unambiguously legalizing dosage-restriction devices such as Vaporizer and Long-Drawtube One-Hitter (now banned as “paraphernalia”)which, together with the “e-cigarette” for nicotine addicts, would kill off the high-profit paper-roll formats and result in drastically downsizing certain huge army-like corporations.

      The conflict of interest consists, in part, of the TAX MONEY governments on all levels from federal on down collect on sale of $igarettes (but adding up to only a fraction of the $289 Billion a year “smoking” costs the US economy according to this year’s Surgeon General Report). And, in part, of the campaign money some leading politicians such as the Speaker have received from tobacco corporations.

      Not interested in seeing the leaders and employees of those corporations get “punished” for their role in maintaining the “tobacco” hegemony (200 million deaths since 1853– if CVS pharmacies or Philip Morris can soon make some money contributing to the supply of safe effective cannabis products, well and good. Meanwhile I find it encouraging that hundreds of SMALL companies have developed e-cigarette products and that something similar is underway on the cannabis side.

      More and better RESEARCH is the key.

    6. Demonhype says:

      I have no idea how anyone could have thought such legislation, to muzzle the Drug Czar, was ever meant to be honest or have the best intentions regarding drug policy. It’s so obviously a blatant corporate profiteering attempt to circumvent what might happen if the majority of the American people came to find out the truth.

      It’s like how I heard that law enforcement officers are required to support the Drug War and prohibited from speaking out against it, or how veterans stand to lose benefits if they criticize any actions of the Pentagon (ie: if you oppose the war or speak out publicly against it, we cut you off to die). It’s so clearly an attempt to manufacture the illusion of assent from those who are closest to the situation and silencing those close to the situation who have recognized the truth. That way, they can always argue “Oh, so you’re against the war? Well, why don’t any soldiers or former soldiers agree with you, why do all military personnel and veterans support the war whole-heartedly.?” Or “So you oppose the Drug War and want to legalize MJ and liberalize our drug control laws? You think MJ has any medical benefit? Well, if you’re so smart, how come the Drug Czar’s office says different, that MJ is no good, and how come ALL law enforcement supports the Drug War? Answer that, smart guy!”

    7. joeyb563 says:

      Wouldn’t this policy be a moot point if marijuana is rescheduled to a schedule II substance like what those 18 representatives are trying to get Obama to do?

    8. 420Elite says:

      about time. Maybe this will prove this was gods gift to us for medical purposes. One small step!

    9. War crimes says:

      Could someone with a lot of money get together with other people and sue the DEA and other LYING agencies please? Also since it’s a war on drugs bring war crime charges against them along with kidnapping, unlawful detention, assault, murder, attempted murder, robbery, extortion and anything I missed. I’d appreciate it. Thanks and have a great day.

    10. Also says:

      Also R.I.C.O. And organize crime related charges because the taking of possessions without due process is stealing and racketeering. These corrupt agencies are making the mafia look like an infant while they look like mike Tyson.