“The ONDCP’s job should be to develop and recommend sane drug control policies.”

Currently the Office of National Drug Control Policy, known popularly as the Drug Czar office, is required by law to ignore the science surrounding schedule I drugs, like marijuana. Congress has expressly prohibited it from studying whether marijuana has any medical value and to oppose rescheduling even if that would be the right decision based on new research. In an act of true insanity Congress purposely made the office responsible for helping to set drug policy ignorant about drugs.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) is now trying to end this Kafkaesque situation by introducing H.R. 4046, the Unmuzzle the Drug Czar Act.

“Not only is the ONDCP the only federal office required by law to oppose rescheduling marijuana even if it is proven to have medical benefits, but it is also prohibited from studying if that could be even be true,” said Congressman Cohen. “The ONDCP’s job should be to develop and recommend sane drug control policies, not be handcuffed or muzzled from telling the American people the truth. How can we trust what the Drug Czar says if the law already preordains its position? My bill would give the ONDCP the freedom to use science—not ideology—in its recommendations and give the American people a reason to trust what they are told.”

While the chances for this bill in this election year are not great it is important to raise the profile of the issue. Absurd situations like this are only allowed to continue because most Americans aren’t aware of them.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy