Article by Kyle Jaeger, ATTN
A Bloomberg report revealed President-elect Donald Trump’s likely pick for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, on Wednesday — and it is giving marijuana legalization advocates a glimmer of hope.
Jim O’Neill — an associate at Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management and legalization activist, who served as a founding member of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform — could potentially head the federal agency, which plays a central role in shaping the government’s cannabis policy.
“Jim O’Neill, the Thiel associate, hasn’t been officially selected, according to the people, who asked to remain anonymous because the decision process is private, and the Trump team could still go in another direction,” Bloomberg reported.
The FDA is responsible for determining the medical value of drugs and conducting scientific research that informs the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) drug scheduling decisions. Earlier this year, the FDA concluded that marijuana has a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use in treatment,” as Marijuana.com reported. That determination led the DEA to maintain its current classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, the most restrictive category under federal law.
A public records request submitted by ATTN: revealed that FDA leadership has raised questions about the DEA’s scheduling system and recommended revising the regulatory framework in order to “encourage appropriate scientific research into the potential therapeutic benefits of marijuana and its constituents.”