Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino has withdrawn his name from consideration to lead the Office of Drug Control Policy “due to a critical illness” of a family member, according to U.S. News & World Report. Marino was nominated as the Trump Administration’s “drug czar” last month.
“I thank the President for the enormous honor of considering me for this lead role in the effort to address one of the most pressing issues facing our nation and my state today: the opioid epidemic,” Marino said in a statement, following speculation that he may have failed a background check. “I will remain in Congress and continue to support President Trump in whatever way I can.”
According to the report, the Republican Representative was completing the final paperwork ahead of the official nomination. Marino is well known as a hardline drug prohibitionist who opposes state-sanctioned medical cannabis programs and once quipped he’d like to see nonviolent drug offenders put in a “hospital-slash-prison.”
Richard Baum, a Georgetown University professor, will continue serving as the acting director of the ODCP. The Administration did not release a statement regarding Marino withdrawing his name and has not yet made any hints about who would be chosen to replace him.