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Tom Price has been named as President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services Secretary. Why is this an issue? Because Tom Price is one of the most consistent anti-marijuana members in congress right now, and as Health and Human Services Secretary, he would have the power to restrict the availability of recreational and medical marijuana in states that have made it legal.
How can he do this? Because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, Tom Price could potentially penalize doctors or sue sellers who work with recreational or medical marijuana. This would cause huge delays in the industry at the very least and derail an otherwise incredibly productive industry.
Price has a long voting record of opposing the [modest] marijuana policy reforms that have come to a vote in the House of Representatives, said John Had of the Brookings Institution in an email. Price is a physician and the medical community broadly has been conservative about the use of medical marijuana and nearly universally opposes it for recreational use.
Price’s record includes:
* Going against a measure that would prevent the Justice Department from interfering with state recreational marijuana laws.
* Voting six times against amendments preventing the Justice Department from interfering with state medical marijuana laws.
* Voting three times against a measure that would allow Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans who might benefit from it.
Price is not the only anti-marijuana person to be added to Trump’s administration. It was announced earlier this month that Jeff Sessions would be Attorney General. Sessions is a long time anti-pot crusader who has been quoted saying, “Good people do not smoke marijuana.“
Jeff Sessions should be the very last person to make judgments about “good people“. Thomas Figures, a black assistant US attorney who worked for Sessions, testified that Sessions called him “boy“ on multiple occasions and joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying that he thought Klan members were “OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.“
With the cabinet picks that have been announced for Trump’s presidency, it looks like the next 4 years are going to be very stressful for the cannabis industry.