Senate

Colorado Dem questions White House on 'intentional effort to mislead the American people' on marijuana

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D) wrote a letter to the White House on Thursday attacking its decision to convene a multi-agency committee tasked with combatting public support for marijuana.

In the letter, Bennet calls the committee an "intentional effort to mislead the American people" and attacks the Trump administration for eroding its credibility on the issue of marijuana policy.

"I am deeply concerned by this intentional effort to mislead the American people," Bennet wrote in the letter. "At a time when we should be investing in objective and peer-reviewed scientific research on marijuana and the effects of legalization, the White House is instead using taxpayer money to spread a politically-driven narrative."

"The only way to 'turn the tide' on any issue with the public is to be a credible voice," the senator continues. "By cherry-picking data to support pre-ordained and misinformed conclusions on marijuana, the Trump administration has further eroded any credibility it has on this issue."

Bennet's condemnation came one day after BuzzFeed News reported that the president had tasked more than a dozen agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, with compiling "data demonstrating the most significant negative trends" about marijuana's health effects and the effects of the drug's legalization.

The committee, called the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, reportedly is not directed to consider positive health benefits of the drug or societal benefits to its legalization. The committee has drawn sharp criticism from advocates for marijuana legalization, especially in states like Colorado, where it recreational use is legal.

Colorado's Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, however, said Wednesday that he remains confident the Trump administration will not infringe on Colorado's decision to legalize the drug.

"Regardless of the accuracy of the story, Senator Gardner remains confident in the commitment the President made to him to support a states' rights solution to the current disconnect on marijuana law," Gardner's spokesman said in an email.

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