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Marijuana Advocate Could Oversee FDA

It is a decision that could change the course of cannabis research.

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A marijuana legalization advocate could become President-elect Donald Trump’s selection as head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to a report from Marijuana.com.

It was revealed on Tuesday that a man by the name Jim O’Neill, who worked with the Department of Health and Human Services under the George W. Bush Administration, is being considered to take the wheel as one of the nation’s leading health officials at the FDA.

If this happens, it could be a feather in the cap of the movement to reform federal marijuana laws, especially since O’Neil is said to support a concept that has been referred to as “progressive approval” when it comes to bringing new medications to market.

“We should reform FDA so there is approving drugs after their sponsors have demonstrated safety -- and let people start using them, at their own risk, but not much risk of safety,” O’Neill said during a speech in August 2014. “Let’s prove efficacy after they’ve been legalized.”

This means that O’Neill would quite possibly like to see an FDA that allows the average consumer to experiment with newly developed medications – not one that places too much focus on the current model, which involves years of testing and clinical trials.

There is hope that this attitude might somehow contribute to the unleashing of the cannabis plant. As it stands, the current FDA policies have not exactly been fair with respect to getting the federal government to finally admit marijuana has medical qualities. In fact, the agency’s opinion is largely responsible for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s decision earlier this year not to downgrade the Schedule I classification of the cannabis plant – leaving it in the same ranks as heroin.

While it is unlikely that O’Neill’s command over at the FDA would have a tremendous impact on Uncle Sam’s overall outlook on the cannabis plant, especially with Trump’s Ganja Gestapo in command, there is a possibility that his influence would allow some of the more restrictive rules that bind cannabis research to be amended.

Right now, O’Neill is simply being considered for the position. A formal nomination is not expected to happen until early 2017.