Political strategist Roger Stone, a man who will undoubtedly go down in infamy for injecting master manipulating herky-jerky into the veins of White House, has made it his mission to influence President Donald Trump to legalize marijuana at the national level.
Stone, a longtime friend and former advisor to President Trump, recently launched a pro-cannabis advocacy group called the United States Cannabis Coalition, which, according to its website, will “lobby the Trump administration from the top on down to recognize the medicinal value and potential of cannabis.”
Although Trump said throughout his campaign that he supports medical marijuana “100 percent,” as well as that legalization should be a matter of states’ rights, his administration has spent the past few months implying that legal marijuana might be on borrowed time.
Trump’s U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, recently sent a letter to Congressional leaders begging them to rescind the temporary rider that prevents the Justice Department from spending money to investigate, raid and prosecute the medical marijuana community.
“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote. “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”
Even Trump himself has suggested that he might not be as keen on medical marijuana as he may have led his supporters to believe while on the campaign trail. In a signing statement accompanying the latest federal budget, which includes the medical marijuana protections known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, Trump said that he reserves the right to defy the rider in order to uphold his “constitutional responsibility.”
It is for these reasons that Stone has assembled a legion of multi-partisan supporters of the marijuana movement in an effort to persuade “the President to reclassify cannabis from its current Schedule 1 classification under federal law (where it is grouped with heroin and other far more dangerous drugs) so that doctors across the country can legally prescribe it.”
Although the overall goal of the coalition seems to be protecting the sanctity of medical marijuana, Stone, who calls former President Richard Nixon his “mentor,” says the War on Drugs is one of the greatest mistakes ever made by the United States.
“It’s been an expensive, ignominious, racist failure,” Stone said in a video promoting his new coalition. “It’s not working. Drug abuse has to be treated as a public health issue, not a criminal justice issue.”
In an interview with Vice News, Stone said that he and Trump discussed marijuana reform about 20 years ago, and they both agreed that the government should put an end the drug war.
“His argument then, as I recall, was put the cartels and the bad guys out of business,” Stone said.
“Beyond that, I’m not going to characterize any conversations I would have [with Trump],” he added. “Obviously, I would use any legal means at my disposal to reverse course if Sessions is planning a crackdown.”
Other marijuana advocacy groups, some of which could end up joining the USCC campaign, seem relatively excited to have Stone in their corner.
“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, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Vice. “If he’s interested in taking reasonable actions toward sensible reform, we’re all for it.”
To learn more about the United States Cannabis Coalition, click here.