Rep. Trey Gowdy, new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, grilled the acting WH Drug Policy Office Director Richard Baum about U.S. federal policy regarding drug scheduling last week. Gowdy urged Baum to "consult the powers that be" and begin research to reschedule marijuana as a drug with at least some medicinal benefit.
Baum suggests hopefully that "there are component elements of marijuana that could be put through the FDA process and turned into medicines that could help people in this country... we want to do that."
According to his Linked-In page, Baum is currently serving as the Acting Director, ONDCP (White House Drug Policy Office). Also on his Linked-In Page, Baum notes: "Richard Baum was named by President Trump as the Acting Director of ONDCP in March, 2017. He has dedicated his career to drug and crime policy issues. He has worked as a Congressional staffer, a writer/researcher, and for the past almost 20 years at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in various positions. Among the highlights of his career is leading efforts to draft the National Drug Control Strategy in both the Bush and Obama Administrations, and co-chairing work groups that put together the White House Transnational Organized Crime Strategy and the National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy. Separate from his work at ONDCP, Richard is an Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University's McCourt Graduate School, teaching a course entitled: "The War on Drugs: Causes, Consequences, and Alternatives."
Before beginning the questioning, Gowdy comments to his mom, if she might be listening, that he is not advocating the legalization of marijuana, per say.
Gowdy continued his question:
REP. TREY GOWDY: I don't understand why [marijuana is classified by the federal government] as a Schedule One [illegal narcotic, with no medical value]. We treat it as if it is an inherently dangerous substance for which there is no medicial value.
It takes a tractor-trailer full of marijuana to even trigger a mandatory minimum under our drug laws. So is there any appetite for researching whether or not it should remain a Schedule One drug?
BAUM: Congressman, the administration doesn't have a position on that. I'm happy to dialogue with your office. Let me just say we strongly support research on medical use of marijuana, and if there are obstacles we see that prevent good research, we want to address those obstacles. Because there are component elements of marijuana that could be put through the FDA process and turned into medicines that could help people in this country, we want to do that. There is potential to support --
GOWDY: Just so everyone is clear, methamphetamine is scheduled what?
BAUM: I believe it is schedule two.
GOWDY: Cocaine base is scheduled what?
BAUM: Uh, two.
GOWDY: So [cocaine and methamphetamine] are scheduled lower than marijuana, and again, you can schedule something and still not have it scheduled as a one. So you can consult powers that be, whoever in the administration you need to consult with, to at least explore whether or not it is scheduled correctly, without being percieved as advocating for legalization.
(Video thanks to Amicus Humani Generis on YouTube)