Former director of federal policy for the Marijuana Policy Project, Dan Riffle, has joined the staff of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a senior counsel and policy advisor. In recent weeks Ocasio-Cortez rocketed to the spotlight after becoming the youngest woman to be elected in Congress and for her political views.
Marijuana Moment reports that Riffle most recently served under former Rep. Keith Ellison and former Rep. John Conyers. While Riffle is a supporter of cannabis reform, he is wary of the corporate takeover of recreational cannabis that we see today.
Legalizing cannabis and addressing those imprisoned by the war on drugs must be part of the same conversation. https://t.co/VS27tKqNIA
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 16, 2018
Ocasio-Cortez’ platform centers upon Medicare for all, abolishing ICE and raising the top marginal tax rate of the wealthiest Americans up to 70 percent. Cannabis reform is also among her top priorities. “Legalizing cannabis and addressing those imprisoned by the war on drugs must be part of the same conversation,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in 2018. Recently, Ocasio-Cortez called the prohibition of cannabis a “tool” to target minorities. She also wants to explore reparations for people who have been convicted of cannabis crimes, according to her Twitter feed.
Last November, Ocasio-Cortez defeated 10-term House Democratic Caucus chairman Rep. Joseph Crowley, sending shockwaves throughout Washington. Few people have been scrutinized more than the newly elected congresswoman. A video of then-freshman Ocasio-Cortez dancing was recently leaked, spurring a widespread internet debate. Fact-checking websites have challenged several of her comments, but Ocasio-Cortez fired back with criticism of their techniques. At age 29, Ocasio-Cortez would be too young to run for president in 2020.
It will be interesting to see how Riffle may influence the decision-making of the congresswoman on cannabis-related issues and how he will make an overall impact.