By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection
It appears Richard Baum has been chosen by the White House as the acting Drug Czar. Baum has held a variety of positions within the Office of National Drug Policy over 18 years. Most recently he has held the position of International Division Director.
Dan Diamond from Politico Pulse Tweeted the news on March 28th, “RICH BAUM, a longtime drug policy expert and ex-Hill GOP staffer, tapped to be acting White House “drug czar.”
Tom Angell’s Marijuana Moment, THE daily cannabis update, reported that Baum is also Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University’s McCourt Graduate School in Washington D.C. and recently taught a class—The War on Drugs: Causes, Consequences, and Alternatives. The course description online says:
“The course will explore the development and impact of these policies, focusing on: the formation of initial domestic drug laws and international drug treaties, centralization in the White House of drug policy making starting in the Nixon and Bush Sr. Administrations, policy responses to increased drug use in the 1960s and 1970s and the crack/cocaine epidemic in 1980s.”
At www.DrugWarrant.com they reported that Baum actually feels drunk driving is less of an issue than drugged driving. During a session in 2015 at the 58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Baum reportedly said:
“In the US, we have a problem with drug driving and an irony is that drunk driving is relatively less of a problem. In 2014 a survey found that 8 percent of people on the road had alcohol in their systems. 21 percent had three or more drugs in their system.”
Angell also pointed to a time that Baum supported using a fungicide to fight coca growing in Columbia. In 2000 Baum told the Chicago Tribune that inoculating seeds with fungicide and dropping them into the coca fields as a biological control of illegal coca growing. He did, however, show some concern for the safety of individuals, “It looks incredibly promising,” Baum told the Tribune. “However, we are waiting for the results of tests and will proceed only if the scientists working with the government of Colombia tell us that mycoherbicides are safe.”
He is acting director while Trump looks to appoint a permanent Czar. In will be interesting to see who he burdens with the job.
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