In her much loved dinner prep Instagram livestreams, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made it clear that she thinks marijuana prohibition is a “tool” used to oppress people of color in the United States. But other than the fact she’d legalize cannabis and advocate for the release of people who have been incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses, she hasn’t released much info on her ideas around cannabis.
Those looking for clues to any potential strategy got another one this week, when Ocasio-Cortez announced that Dan Riffle, health care and tax reform expert, would be joining her staff as senior counsel and policy advisor.
That’s big news for those with an eye on weed issues because, in addition to holding past staff positions for other members of Congress, Riffle was once director of federal policy for the Marijuana Policy Project. He left the organization back in 2014; attributing his departure to the overwhelming influence of big business in the legalization movement and how it shapes policy in terms of how cannabis is accessed.
Upon leaving MPP, Riffle told Vox in an interview: ”We used to talk three or four years ago about how we’re creating this industry, yet nobody in the industry gives