Anti-marijuana lobbyist wants Biden to let him lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

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The move could be a huge step backward as cannabis reform is now gaining traction

A former Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Rhode Island has, in the form of an open letter, petitioned President-Elect Joe Biden to appoint him to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Patrick Kennedy, co-founder of the leading cannabis prohibitionist group in the US, is launching a public campaign designed to persuade President Biden to put him in charge of a key federal drug policy agency.

In an open letter to the Biden transition team, Kennedy denounces the legalization of cannabis and the “dangers of today’s higher potency consumption options and a rapidly evolving for-profit industry.” In the same letter, it points out that Kennedy agrees with President-elect Biden’s “position in support of marijuana decriminalization.”

Kennedy was one of the founders of Smart Approaches To Marijuana (SAM), which turns out to be the leading anti-marijuana lobbying organization. However, he added in his open letter. “Like him (Biden), I support expanded research and expungement as priorities.”

The vast majority of potential nominees who are serious candidates for administration posts do not make their appeals public and none at all tout their perceived abilities in open letters. What Kennedy is doing is attempting to publicly rally supporters among people who will take his case to the White House because, for some reason, he cannot present the letter personally himself.

Kennedy promotes himself as the right person to be the next drug czar in part based on his personal experience with substance misuse issues. He would represent a vast departure from previous ONDCP heads who tend to come with a law enforcement background.

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