President-elect Donald Trump is considering Jim O’Neil to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to Bloomberg News.
O’Neil is a supporter of legalizing cannabis, and has actively worked towards it; he previously served on the Board of Directors for the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, which worked to legalized cannabis in California.
O’Neil is also a proponent of a concept he calls the “progressive approval” of medicines.
“We should reform FDA so there is approving drugs after their sponsors have demonstrated safety — and let people start using them, at their own risk, but not much risk of safety,” O’Neill said in a speech at an August 2014 conference called Rejuvenation Biotechnology. “Let’s prove efficacy after they’ve been legalized.”
Trump has been relatively quiet on his plans for the FDA, though his website does say that his administration will; “reform the Food and Drug Administration, to put greater focus on the need of patients for new and innovative medical products” and to advance research.
O’Neil would be an unconventional pick to head the FDA; he’s not a physician nor does he have a medical background. However he did spend years working for the Health and Human Services Department. The pick would surely excite proponents of cannabis legalization, especially following Trump’s appointment of multiple cannabis opponents to his cabinet.
If Trump does pick O’Neil, he will need to be approved by the Senate.