President Donald Trump has selected one of his earliest campaign supporters to become the next drug czar of the United States.
Earlier last week, the White House announced that Trump fully intends to nominate Pennsylvania Republican Tom Marino to oversee the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) – making him responsible for putting a leash on the scourge of illegal drugs all across the nation.
Marino, now 65-years old, had previously removed himself from consideration due to “a critical illness” in the family, reports Politico.
In May, he thanked for president for giving him the opportunity to take the reigns on the country’s drug-related concerns, especially “the effort to address one of the most pressing issues facing our nation and my state today: the opioid epidemic.” But he decided, instead, to “remain in Congress and continue to support President Trump in whatever way I can.”
As a Congressman, Marino, a former prosecutor, made it one of his missions to expand treatment options for people caught up in the vicious cycle of opioid addiction. He also drafted a measure during the Obama administration (which was signed into the law by the president) that some worried would prevent the DEA from busting up prescription drug distributors suspected of perpetuating the national drug problem.
When it comes to marijuana, Marino believes that more research is needed before the herb can be touted as having any medical benefits. But even if that research did show that cannabis has therapeutic properties, he would not support any scenario in which people get to legally smoke marijuana. Marino thinks medical marijuana should only be available in pill form, according to Seattle Weekly.
Marino’s position on marijuana actually makes him perfect for the worthless role of “drug czar,” according to a statement released earlier this year by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
“The drug czar is required, by its own job description, to oppose any changes to current drug policy, including marijuana legalization,” said Erik Altieri, executive director of NORML. “This type of myopic thinking does nothing to advance sensible drug reform in this country and ensures modern science and social data is precluded from even being involved in the conversation.”
But before Marino can take over as head of the ONDCP, he must first receive the proverbial “thumbs up” from the U.S. Senate.
Marino’s office has yet to comment on the nomination.