DEA’s Approval of Canadian Weed Imports Shows U.S. Agencies ‘Don’t Know Who’s in Charge,’ Drug Policy Expert Says

Article by Perrin Grauer,

DEA’s approval of Canadian weed imports shows U.S. agencies ‘don’t know who’s in charge,’ drug policy expert says By PERRIN GRAUER StarMetro Vancouver While the DEA recently approved Canadian cannabis for import to the United States for clinical study, U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues to stand firm on border policy that renders Canadian cannabis workers inadmissible to the U.S. (JOSH EDELSON / AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

An announcement Tuesday that the United States has approved the importation of medical cannabis from Canadian producer Tilray exposes a deep contradiction at the heart of U.S. drug enforcement, says one policy expert.

While Tilray’s achievement signals that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is willing to make an allowance for the importation of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis for clinical purposes, U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues to enforce border policy that states Canadians associated with the medical or recreational cannabis industries are inadmissible to the United States.

And under the current U.S. president, who can overturn the work of bureaucrats with a single tweet, incoherence between agencies is fairly unsurprising, said Sanho Tree, director of the Drug Policy Project at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies.

“When you have an utterly dysfunctional administration … (whose) different departments are at war with each other, they don’t know who’s in charge. There’s no adult left in the room,” Tree said in an interview. “That’s what you’re seeing here.”

Under past presidential administrations, said Tree, labour-intensive and lengthy interagency negotiations were typically undertaken to provide consistency between different federal departments in the U.S. Under the current administration, however, Tree said interagency co-ordination has been largely abandoned, with departments often operating as siloed, self-directed “fiefdoms.”

“It sounds like a classic case of the right hand not knowing what the far-right hand is doing,” he said.

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