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EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (OVFICE OF NSTIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY ‘Waingtn, D.C. 20805 September 21,2018 ‘The Honorable Michael Bennet United States Senate 261 Russell Senate Office Building ‘Washington, DC 20510 Dear Senator Bennet: ‘Thank you for your recent letter outlining your concems with the policy coordination process involving marijuana a the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), ONDCP sets policies, priorities, and objectives for the nation's drug control programs and ensures that adequate resources are provided to implement them. As such, ONDCP has an obligation to understand the effects drugs have on individuals, public health, and public safety, from a numberof different perspectives. ‘hiss espeially relevant now asthe nation faces the worst drug cis init history. Allow me tobe perfectly clear: reducing the numberof Americans dyin from overdoses, rinepally from opioids, i the President's op drug priority and itis mine as well. In the curent environment, the Federal Government needs more informstion about the harms and risks associated with drug threats to help identify spevifi objectives for polices, and then to track the progress of those policies. ONDCP has a history of working wih Federal, stat, lca, and tribal pariners to support data collection efforts on all types of drugs to hop assess the impacto rapidly changing drug markets. Although I did not participate inthis meeting itis my understanding tht this was the intent ofthe marijuana policy coordination commit, which ‘one of hundreds of standing policy coordination committees (PCC) that serve as the mechanis for routine interagency processes in every administration. ‘The atcle you referenced in your Jeter implies that PCCs are somehow seret, unusual, or outside the appropriate process for policy development inthe executive branch, so please allow me to eleat up aay misconceptions bout PCC. ‘The work of ONDCP is based on hard data, science, and evidence fom experts inthe field. The fll range of our counternarcoties efforts are based upon data collected by the Federal Goverment; the researeh it performs or supports; studies from academic and heath experts; and ‘what we lem ftom ou aw enforcement, healiar. and public heal partners aos the County. Tassure you that ONDCP seeks all perspectives, positive or negative, whe formulating ‘Administration policy. You have my fll and fm commitment that ONDCP wil be completely objective and dispassionate in collecting al relevant facts ad peer-reviewed scientific research ‘on all drug, inluding marijuana, A major challenge in assessing threats that drugs pose fo the nation isthe availability and adequacy of data to help us gain a clearer understanding of current and emerging tends in drug availability and use, National population surveys, information from law enforcement reporting, drug seizure data, drug testing information, treatment admission rates, and other datasets provide important context on the drug situation and help shine a light on tren ines and identify ‘emerging threats. However, in and of themselves, they only provide pact of the picture. ONDCP supports advancing research and reducing knowledge gaps on the consequences ofall drug use. This understanding will translate into more effective outreach and prevention for vulnerable populations, and help reduce use now and inthe years to come, For ‘example, ONDCP undertook an effort to expand forensic analysis of eannabis specimens. Moreover, ONDCP flly supports research onthe impact of products derived from the cannabis plant, whether potentially Werapeutic or harmful, and we work with agencies across the Federal Government to identify opportunities for reducing barriers and streamlining the research process. Inthe case of the cannabis plant, further research will improve our understanding of the endocannabinoid system and could lead to nev medications, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure they are safe and effective for patents. Inadtion to synthetic ‘THC-based medications already marketed inthe United States, the FDA recently approved a ‘cannabidiol (CBD) oral solution product that is made from a purified eannabis plant extract. The ‘recent FDA approval of this CBD oral solution product is an example of how the FDA's process for establishing the safety and efficacy of medications for the labeled use ean work to bring ccannabis-derived treatments othe patients who need them the most. ‘Thank you for your strong and tireless commitment tothe nation’s efforts to address the ‘unprecedented drug crisis that is impacting communities all across the nation, and please consider me a partner in that effort. Ifyou have questions or would like to submit marijuana suds for ONDCP staff to review, please do not hesitate to reach out eC W. Carll Deputy Director

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