SAM Releases Drug Policy Recommendations for Biden Administration; Congratulates ReGina LaBelle

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), the nation’s leading organization opposed to the commercialization of marijuana, released a comprehensive roadmap for the Biden Administration centered on the President-Elect’s marijuana policy position and the platform of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force.

The release of the report coincides with today’s swearing-in of former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Chief of Staff, Regina LaBelle, as Acting Director and Deputy Director of ONDCP.

SAM commends this appointment.

“I was honored to work side by side with Regina during my time in the Obama Administration. I can’t think of a better, smarter steward to help re-elevate national drug policy during this time,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president & co-founder of SAM and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “Furthermore, President-Elect Biden has made it clear that he is no fan of the idea of the expansion and promotion of marijuana use. We hope our policy recommendations prove helpful to the administration as we move forward.”

Chief among the list of policy and future action recommendations is the removal of criminal penalties for marijuana use and replacing them with directions to brief interventions, and, if necessary, treatment. Sensible policies, like increasing research, removing barriers to data gathering, and reforming federal laws in these areas are tangible policy outcomes that can be accomplished without the establishment of a commercial marijuana industry. Furthermore, given the widespread five-alarm fire that we are seeing with increases in substance use, the position of Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) must be re-elevated to its former status as a Cabinet-level position, with the Director’s position on marijuana mirroring that of the President-Elect.

The policy recommendations also include a call to action for the Administration to implement a public awareness campaign seeking to discourage young people from using marijuana and educating parents on today’s high potency marijuana and create a bipartisan commission to examine scheduling options; and

The full list of recommendations consists of 10 points:

Adjust Federal Criminal Penalties for Use; Model Law of States (Congress, DOJ, ONDCP)

Commence a Science-Based Education and Awareness Campaign to Discourage Young People from Using Marijuana and Educate Parents on Today’s High Potency THC (HHS/CDC)

Expand Options for Marijuana Researchers (Congress, HHS/NIH/NIDA/DOJ/DEA)

Publish a Surgeon General Report on the State of Science (HHS/ASH/OSG)

Appoint Bi-Partisan Commission to Examine Scheduling Options (EOP/ONDCP)

Urge Reimbursers to Treat Marijuana Use Disorder (HHS/CMS)

Fund Efforts to Monitor Youth Marijuana Marketing (HHS/CDC)

Increase Funding for Counterdrug/Marijuana Production Operations (ONDCP/HIDTA, DOJ/DEA)

Fund Data Monitoring Systems Like DAWN and ADAM (HHS/SAMHSA, DOJ/BJA)

Appoint ONDCP Director Whose Position on Marijuana is Consistent with the President-Elect, and Elevate to the Cabinet (WHO/PPO)