NEWS BRIEF

Biden nominee for drug czar consulted for medical cannabis business

President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Dr. Rahul Gupta, consulted with a Massachusetts-based medical cannabis business for nine months in 2020.

Ethics documents released this week by the White House confirmed Gupta’s work with marijuana multistate operator Holistic Industries, CNN reported.

A Biden spokesperson told the cable-TV news outlet that Gupta provided “consulting on regulatory compliance matters” for physician recommendations for medical marijuana in West Virginia.

West Virginia is not yet one of the states where Holistic has a cannabis business footprint.

According to the company’s website, Holistic has marijuana operations in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington DC. But the company is planning to expand into the Appalachian state, where an MMJ market is expected to launch later this year.

As West Virginia’s former medical officer, Gupta helped craft the state’s MMJ industry regulations.

The revelation is perhaps an indicator that Biden might need to further soften his stance toward legal marijuana.

The White House made headlines in March after several employees were fired for marijuana use, and Biden himself has remained steadfastly opposed to legalizing cannabis at the federal level.

But a number of Biden appointees have had ties to legal cannabis in various ways, Gupta now included.

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