Earlier this month the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Chuck Rosenberg, made national headlines when he called the idea of medical marijuana a “joke.” A stupid statement to be sure, contradicted by numerous studies and the daily anecdotal evidence of millions of people in the U.S. alone.
Rosenberg’s comment naturally drew the ire of medical marijuana patients, and the cannabis activism group Marijuana Majority started an online petition calling for his firing. The petition caught fire and went viral, garnering more than 100,000 signatures in the space of two weeks.
Last Friday Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, joined a group of patients in physically delivering the petition to DEA headquarters in Virginia. The Obama Administration has yet to respond to the petition.
Several members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Earl Blumenauer (D) from Oregon, have joined the public chorus calling for Rosenberg’s dismissal.
You have to wonder what Rosenberg was thinking in this case. Even if he is actually ignorant enough to believe his own statement, what was to be gained by saying it publicly? Did he expect widespread agreement when most polls show support for medical cannabis exceeding 80%?
In any case, I’m sure he didn’t expect a groundswell of support against him keeping his job. Sometimes the art of politics includes keeping your mouth shut so people don’t realize how out of touch you are with society.
To be fair, Rosenberg has spent his life in law and law enforcement, and this has been the accepted view of things for many years. But times change and information on the medical properties of cannabis are not that hard to find. Google, Yahoo, Bing — these are all great places to find the latest information. Even AOL is still around.
DEA Chief is just not the job for Mr. Rosenberg. Maybe he should use his upcoming free time to take computer classes.