The new head of Health and Human Services (HHS), Tom Price, just ignored Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (MA) letter addressing the future of medical marijuana prior to his swearing in on Friday.
Price “chose not to respond to a U.S. senator’s written questions about marijuana’s potential in fighting the opioid epidemic prior to being confirmed for the office early Friday morning by a vote of 52-47,” according to MassRoots.
Included in the list of questions posed by the Massachusetts Senator were inquiries into the possibility of rescheduling the drug from Schedule 1 – and it was completely ignored by the nominee.
“Price didn’t bother responding to the marijuana questions or the other queries in Warren’s 20-page letter,” a Senate staffer tells MassRoots.
An excerpt from her letter of questions is as follows:
Medical marijuana has the potential to mitigate the effects of the opioid crisis. A 2014 JAMA Internal Medicine study, for example, found that the fatal opioid overdose rate was 25% lower in states that allow for the use of medical marijuana than in states that do not.
a. As HHS Secretary, what would you do to further study this potential alternative?
b. Are you committed to implementing evidence-based policies regarding its use?
HHS Secretary Price was promoted to President Donald Trump’s cabinet from his seat as a Georgia State Representative in Congress. Many cannabis advocates are worried that the his lack of interest in answering her questions, is an indicator of his unwillingness to work on cannabis reforms.
Going into the job as head of America’s health systems, Price’s stance on the plant remains unclear as he ignored a question on whether marijuana could help fight the opioid epidemic. In the past, he has voted to prevent Department of Justice interference with state medical cannabis laws. Per MassRoots report, he also voted against medical marijuana for veterans, and ‘voted against protecting all state marijuana laws — including ones allowing recreational use — from federal harassment.’
The non-answer is a slap in the face of many cannabis supporters. It’s the latest disappointing appointment for cannabis supporters, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions who recently said he thought “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
The new people in power of the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services raises concerns for many cannabis reformers, as fears mount that the two men could reverse the scaling back of cannabis prohibition.