Lee wants acting DEA official replaced for calling medical marijuana ‘a joke’

Rep. Barbara Lee and others objected to the acting
DEA chief calling medical pot “a joke.”

CONGRESS | DISTRICT 13 | Rep. Barbara Lee and six other members of Congress are calling for the Obama administration to replace the acting chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration after he labeled medical marijuana “ a joke” and questioned whether it is safe or effective in treating pain.

“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal — because it’s not,” said Chuck Rosenberg during a press conference Nov. 4. “We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don’t call it medicine — that is a joke.”

In a letter to the President signed Nov. 19 six lawmakers, including Lee and two other California congressmembers, they called Rosenberg unfit for the job and possessing “a throwback ideology rooted in the failed War on Drugs.” Rosenberg’s opinion is also incongruent with reforms regarding medical marijuana and public opinion which has increasingly shown support for loosening federal prohibitions, the congressmembers wrote.

“And they certainly don’t reflect statements you’ve made or actions you’ve directed you’re agencies to take. Rather, these statements demonstrate Mr. Rosenberg is not the right person to lead the DEA,” they wrote.

Following California in 1996, 22 states have approved medical marijuana programs. However, marijuana is still considered an illegal narcotic on the federal level. It’s a point some note only reveals Rosenberg was merely reiterating the DEA’s current policy on marijuana prohibition. But, as the Washington Post reported, much of Rosenberg’s scientific claims against the efficacy of medical marijuana as a medicine flies in the face of existing medical research.

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