President Donald Trump has been announcing his nominations for the various positions in his administration since securing the election in November. Many of his choices have sparked concern among members of the cannabis industry, but one potential individual could have the opposite effect.
Recently, the Trump team met with two potential candidates for FDA Commissioner, one of whom was Jim O’Neill, the Wall Street Journal reports. O’Neill is a Silicon Valley investor with a history of supporting legalization efforts and the legal cannabis industry as a whole.
O’Neill served as a founding member of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform in 2012, and currently works as managing director for Mithril Capital Management, a venture capital firm that was co-founded by pro-legalization billionaire Peter Thiel. While O’Neill would surely be an unconventional choice for FDA Commissioner — he’s primarily an investor and businessman, not a scientist or medical expert — that hasn’t been a stopping factor for President Trump in any of his other nominations.
His consideration for the position was first hinted at in early December but it wasn’t until recently that talks between O’Neill and the Trump administration were confirmed.
Critics of O’Neill say he is a dangerous radical that would lower restrictions on drug and treatment testing, which could result in medications being prescribed to patients before they have been properly tested for efficacy. However, the FDA’s current restrictions have proven detrimental to medical cannabis research and product development, and loosening those rules is one of our best bets for getting MMJ products considered to be part of mainstream medicine.
Many predict that, if confirmed as FDA Commissioner, O’Neill would create an environment that would be friendlier to innovations in the medical field.
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