DEA’s New Administrator Takes a Lighter Stance on Pot
August 4th, 2015
Policy, Top News
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s new acting head administrator, Chuck Rosenberg, seems to have a relaxed viewpoint when it comes to marijuana, according to the MMJ Observer. In the past, he has acknowledged that the drug isn’t as dangerous as heroin and asked officials to work in other cases rather than focusing their efforts on marijuana cases, particularly as state-wide trends move towards legalization.
“If you want me to say that marijuana’s not dangerous, I’m not going to say that because I think it is,” said Rosenberg. “Do I think it’s as dangerous as heroin? Probably not. I’m not an expert.”
Rosenberg’s predecessor, Michele Leonhart, oversaw the raiding of medical marijuana stores and openly criticized President Obama’s comparisons between marijuana and alcohol. In fact, Leonhart reported resigned her post amid disagreements with the Obama administration on drug and criminal justice policies. She disagreed with Obama’s move to allow states to legalize marijuana, while disagreeing with the DOJ’s efforts to scale back non-violent sentences.
“That’s a great improvement over the previous administrator who was incapable of distinguishing heroin from marijuana,” said Rep. Steven Cohen, D-Tenn. to USA Today. “The real question that one day will be asked and correctly answered is: Is marijuana a more dangerous drug than alcohol?”
Rosenberg indicated that the agency wouldn’t shy away from doing marijuana cases where appropriate, but suggested that the its primary efforts would focus on opioid and heroin cases.
It may turnout that marijuana provides a solution rather than a problem for the agency. According to a study last year, states that allow medical marijuana for the treatment of conditions like pain had fewer opioid overdose deaths.
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