BuzzFeed News originally revealed the existence of a Trump administration committee to wage a “secret war” on cannabis at the end of August, noting that federal officials were tired of the positive press regarding cannabis legalization and were calling upon various agencies to publish negative news stories. Administration officials initially wouldn’t confirm the committee, but BuzzFeed’s Dominic Holden has acquired proof:

In a letter obtained by BuzzFeed News, ONDCP Acting Director James Carroll says the “intent of the marijuana policy coordinating committee” is to work with federal and state partners to asses “rapidly changing drug markets.”

Carroll insisted the committee was neither secretive nor subjective, saying in his Sept. 21 letter that federal officials are taking a “completely objective” approach while seeking “all perspectives, positive or negative.”

However, BuzzFeed News first reported in August on several memos sent to federal agencies concerning the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, which solely sought negative information on the drug. The memos instructed 14 agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration to submit “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” on the drug and identify issues with state legalization ballot measures, in part to prepare a report for President Donald Trump, who has previously supported states’ rights on marijuana.

The letter from James Carroll to Colorado Senator Michael Bennett uses some government doublespeak to hide the true nature of the committee, instead stating that opioids are the number one priority of the Trump administration and that federal officials are wanting to objectively examine evidence, touting FDA-approved cannabis medicines. Anyone with an inkling of a knowledge of drug policy and the federal government’s long Reefer Madness propaganda war can easily see through the smokescreen.

It is telling how the acting head of the Office of the National Drug Control Policy doesn’t want to admit the truth to Senator Bennett and demonize cannabis. This demonstrates the political power of the cannabis legalization movement across the political spectrum. Not that long ago, the leader of the ONDCP would have gone on a ridiculous rant about the debunked Gateway Theory and other nonsense about cannabis. Today, we are too strong for government prohibitionists to take on directly-they must hide behind secret committees, or at least try to. In other words, we are winning. However, there is a lot of work left to do, so let’s keep winning step by step, state by state, nation by nation.

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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore.