06.15.2017
policy

One Of The President's Old Friends Wants Him To Legalize Pot

Lobbyist Roger Stone hopes to persuade President Trump to reschedule cannabis.

Surprisingly, a friend and long-time Trump supporter potentially represents marijuana’s best chance for legalization. Roger Stone, a lobbyist, political strategist, and wearer of bow ties, launched the United States Cannabis Coalition this week––a political organization whose mission is to “lobby the Trump administration from the top on down to recognize the medicinal value and potential of cannabis.”

Leading up to the 2016 presidential election, Stone founded the Committee to Restore America’s Greatness, a super PAC that worked to secure the election for then-candidate Trump. And as a dude who's been a key figure in the Russia investigations and has referred to Drug War-designer Richard Nixon as his “mentor,” Stone might seem like a very odd advocate for legal weed. Still, the lobbyist has been vocal in his support for progressive drug policies and legalizing cannabis for some years now.

“It’s been an expensive, ignominious, racist failure,” Stone said to VICE News of the War on Drugs. “It’s not working. Drug abuse has to be treated as a public health issue, not a criminal justice issue.”

Furthermore, Stone has said that he hopes for his committee to link up with other advocacy groups and normalization supporters, such as the National Organization Working to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML). (The group told reporters that Stone’s team did reach out, but no commitments have yet been made.)

“This is someone who obviously has the ear of folks within the administration and has the ability to get the message out to a lot of supporters,” Mason Tvert, spokesperson for policy reform advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project said to VICE News. “If he’s interested in taking reasonable actions toward sensible reform, we’re all for it.”

But between Jeff Sessions' threat of a federal crackdown on legal cannabis and the Trump administration's wavering on the issue, most weed advocates remain on edge––understandably. 

Stone, via his cannabis coalition, wants to hold his old buddy to the more moderate, weed-related pledges Trump made on the campaign trail.

“It is not Jeff Sessions place to prosecute his version of morality and President Trump should not allow him to do so,” Stone wrote in a blog post in March. “Cracking down on legalized marijuana will starve States out of much needed revenue streams. . . I urge President Trump to honor his word and keep his promise, irrespective of what his Cabinet members may say.”

Let's just hope he can actually pull it off.

 

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