Donna Shalala is the latest prohibitionist to turn cannavangelist. She is running for Congress in Florida and had the gall to declare, “Decriminalizing marijuana shouldn’t just be a policy priority but a moral imperative.” Shalala sent the sanctimonious tweet on April 20. How hip can you get?
This is the same Donna Shalala who appeared alongside Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey and Attorney General Janet Reno at the infamous 12/30/96 press conference, threatening California doctors and vowing to block implementation of our new medical marijuana law. She was then Secretary of Health and Human Services, which oversees the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She had a voice at the table in the Clinton Administration.
Isn’t there a moral imperative to apologize and ask forgiveness when you’ve sent countless thousands of people to jail and cost thousands an education by cutting off their student loans? Apparently not. Just drape a hemp flag over your shoulders.
Do Al Gore and Hillary Clinton look back and wish they had included pro-cannabis planks in their campaigns? Probably so.
David Smiley of the Miami Herald told the Shalala saga well in the Miami Herald April 24. He ends with a statement from Team Donna:
Shalala’s campaign said the candidate remains worried about the effect of marijuana on children “an issue that occupied much of her cannabis criticism as HHS secretary” but cited new research, public perception, and criminal justice statistics for her change in thinking on marijuana. The statement cited “strong evidence showing real medical benefits of marijuana when used properly,” statistics showing states that have legalized medical marijuana have seen a drop in opioid deaths, and the overwhelming support for Amendment 2 in Florida two years ago.
“Donna’s thinking and understanding of marijuana has evolved, just as the general population’s perspective and the science has evolved,” the statement said. “She believes that we must reschedule cannabis to allow the government and the scientific community to work together to thoroughly study its effects and potential benefits. And, we must decriminalize cannabis because for far too long we have witnessed families and lives being destroyed over marijuana, especially individuals of color. We must follow the science and look at the facts.”
Ellen Komp informs us, “Shalala admitted in an interview with Diane Sawyer that she smoked pot in college.”