Tom Marino To Be Trump’s Drug Czar
U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, a Republican representing rural Pennsylvania, will be the next head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), according to CBS News.
As our next drug czar, Marino will influence the country’s approach to drug policy. Under Obama’s drug czar, Michael Botticelli—who preferred the title “recovery czar”—the administration distanced itself from a “war on drugs” rhetoric in favor of a public health approach.
As a congressman, Marino authored the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act—a piece of legislation attempting to decrease drug trafficking across borders—and another, “more controversial” bill attempting to curb drug abuse by increasing cooperation between prescription drug distributors and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
However, some say the bill actually protects drug distributors from prosecution. It was signed by former President Obama last year.
Also in 2016, Rep. Marino promoted a national program of mandatory inpatient substance use disorder treatment for non-violent drug offenders. He explained to his colleagues at a May 2016 hearing:
“One treatment option I have advocated for years would be placing non-dealer, non-violent drug abusers in a secured hospital-type setting under the constant care of health professionals. 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.”
As for marijuana laws, the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham outlines Marino’s voting record in Congress, which reveals that he’s not too kind on marijuana issues.
The congressman voted against a measure that would loosen restrictions on CBD oil (cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive derivative of the cannabis plant that’s been shown to ease severe seizures. Some states that passed MMJ laws allow only CBD oil because it helps without the high.
Marino also voted against a measure to allow Veterans Affairs physicians to recommend MMJ to patients, as well as a measure to relax federal restrictions on hemp.
He also voted more than once against a measure that would prevent the Department of Justice from interfering in MMJ businesses that are legal under state law. (It passed.)
However, the congressman told a reporter last fall that marijuana legalization is a “states’ rights issue.”
He also said at the time, “The only way I would agree to consider legalizing marijuana is if we had a really in-depth medical scientific study. If it does help people one way or another, then produce it in pill form.”