In an interim report release this afternoon, President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis called on the president to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s opioid addiction and overdose death crisis.
Christie said the opioid death rate was “the equivalent of the death toll on Sept. 11 every three weeks in America.”
Christie and his fellow commission members, including Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, and Harvard Medical School professor Bertha Madras, urged the federal government to rapidly increase the nation’s addiction treatment capacity by granting Medicaid waivers to existing treatment facilities.
There was no mention of cannabis in the commission’s interim report, which was released today. A full copy of that report can be found here.
Medical cannabis is one of the nation’s most well-known non-opioid pain relievers, but it was not mentioned in any way in today’s report. That’s not surprising. Four of the five presidentially appointed members of the commission are adamant cannabis prohibitionists:
- Chris Christie is famous for the anti-marijuana rants made during his short-lived presidential campaign last year.
- Gov. Charlie Baker opposed cannabis legalization in his home state of Massachusetts.
- Rep. Patrick Kennedy is a co-founder of SAM, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a prohibitionist group formed with Kevin Sabet.
- Professor Madras wrote a Washington Post op-ed last year that mocked the idea of cannabis as medicine and claimed—despite decades of evidence to the contrary—that “the scarcity of patients willing to enroll” in clinical trials was the main roadblock to cannabis research in America.
- Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina is the moderate of the group; his only public note on cannabis has been to declare medical marijuana legalization as “something we need to go very slow on.”
The Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is expected to release its full and final report later this year.
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