Cannabis patients and supporters of legalization are calling for DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg to be fired after he called the idea of medical marijuana “a joke.”
Rosenberg has drawn the ire of thousands who support a Change.org petition pleading with President Obama to fire him and appoint a more suitable DEA administrator, the Washington Post reports.
The new DEA chief, who replaced former administrator Michele Leonhart earlier this year amid scandals and controversy, railed against the concept of using marijuana for medicinal purposes during a press conference last week:
“What really bothers me is the idea that marijuana is also medicinal — because it isn’t,” Rosenberg said. “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’s a joke.”
“There are bits of marijuana — extracts or constituents or constituents — that show promise medicinally,” he said. “But when you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana — what people talk about when they talk about medical marijuana — it’s never been shown to be safe or effective as a drug.”
The comments sparked outrage in the medical cannabis community, including Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority, who launched the petition.
“My mother is a legal patient in Rhode Island and she uses medical marijuana to deal with the severe pain she experiences from multiple sclerosis,” Angell said in an interview with the Post. “Medical cannabis is no joke to my family or the millions of other American families who have seen its real benefits.”
The online petition now has the support of more than 25,000 petitioners seeking to fire Rosenberg, including real medical marijuana patients such as singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge and cannabis reform advocate Elizabeth Collins, who uses concentrated oil to treat her 16-year-old daughter’s chronic epilepsy. . .
“I think someone who has that much power over substance-related arrests should be well versed in the substance and be able to actually talk about it,” Collins said. “I’m concerned that he’s so ignorant to say it’s a joke. My daughter’s medicine is no joke to me.”
If you believe the position should be filled by a more informed official, please visit Change.org to add your signature to the petition.