[Alexandria, VA, March 29, 2017] — Today, SAM President Kevin Sabet, a three-time drug policy staffer at the White House, commented on the selection of Richard Baum as Acting Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP):
“Rich Baum is exceptionally qualified to steer such a critical office at a time when drugs from marijuana to heroin are threatening public health in the United States. He has been a critical voice advancing progress among several important areas – like criminal justice innovation and international partnerships – and he remains a trusted voice both here and abroad in advancing a balanced, evidence-based drug policy.
“We’re hopeful that with the imminent announcement of a new opioid task force that ONDCP will remain the central national voice for drug policy. The office is vital to the mission of so many groups working every day to reduce drug use, stem addiction, promote recovery, and protect public safety.
“At SAM, we are particularly concerned about marijuana policy developments being driven by profits and greed rather than public health. We do not want to see a new ‘War on Drugs’ centered on arrests for marijuana possession, but the Big Marijuana special interest lobby must be held accountable for endangering the health and safety of American communities. ONDCP is doing meaningful work to combat the opioid overdose epidemic, prevent drug use among youth, and dismantle drug trafficking organizations.”
A February 17 New York Times story
reported that ONDCP was on the White House’s list of programs that could be cut to rein in domestic spending. On February 23, a sign-on letter
from more than 70 medical and drug policy organizations, including SAM, was sent to White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. The letter urged the Trump Administration to save ONDCP.
Evidence demonstrates that marijuana
– which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is addictive and harmful
to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashes
and youth marijuana use
. These states have also seen a black market
that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and a consistent rise
in alcohol sales.