Senator: White House drug office vows objective pot study

FILE - In this July 4, 2017 file photo, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, of Colorado, is seen through cutouts in a wooden chair as he speaks to a small group of journalists at a hotel during a visit to Mexico City. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, disclosed the assurances after he asked the Office of National Drug Control Policy to respond to a news report that its marijuana policy co-ordination committee aimed to counter growing public support for the drug. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

A White House drug office official has offered assurances that a marijuana policy panel will be objective and dispassionate as it examines the impact of legalization in some states, a Colorado senator said.

The vow came after BuzzFeed reported in August that the panel intended to portray marijuana as a national threat and criticize state efforts to legalize it drug.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet disclosed the assurances Monday after he asked the Executive Office of the President’s Office of National Drug Control Policy to respond to the report.

BuzzFeed said the committee had asked 14 federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration to submit “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” about marijuana and its national “threats.”

The online news site based its reporting on documents it had obtained.

James Carroll, deputy director of the drug office, told the senator the committee would use scientific data in its study of the drug, which is broadly legal in Colorado, Bennett said.

The drug office’s media relations representatives didn’t respond to an email seeking comment late Tuesday.

Colorado was one of the first two states to legalize marijuana and it now has a growing cannabis industry.

“In Colorado, we’ve made a deliberate effort to ensure fact-based data informs our marijuana policies,” Bennet said. “Government-sponsored propaganda shouldn’t undermine that effort.”

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