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Congressman Slams DEA Head for Medical Marijuana Comments

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One of Congress’s leading proponents of marijuana legalization has weighed in on a petition demanding that the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) be fired for calling medical cannabis a “joke.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said it is “outrageous” for acting DEA head Chuck Rosenberg to “trivialize” the experiences of medical cannabis patients. The comments “are out of step with growing scientific evidence and the experience and opinion of the American people,” he said.

In the petition response filed Monday, Blumenauer also called the DEA’s policies “deeply hypocritical,” pointing to how the agency simultaneously claims there’s not enough evidence for cannabis’s medical value while blocking research that could provide more concrete proof.

“While there are important questions that still need to be answered about medical marijuana, the research that would provide those answers is often blocked by federal policy barriers – supported by the DEA,” he said.

To date, more than 140,000 people have signed the Change.org petition calling for Rosenberg’s ouster, physical copies of which were recently delivered to DEA headquarters.

The petition was uploaded by the organization Marijuana Majority last month and its signature count is already more than double that of an earlier one that helped lead to the resignation of previous DEA administrator Michele Leonhart, who also opposed medical marijuana.

(Full disclosure: The author of this article is the founder of Marijuana Majority.)

Blumenauer said in a separate speech on the House floor that Rosenberg is “an example of an inept, misinformed zealot who has mismanaged America’s failed policy of marijuana prohibition.”

He also joined with a bipartisan group of six House colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama saying Rosenberg is “not the right person to lead the DEA” and urging the administration to “find new leadership that can work to develop the right tools to properly rationalize our treatment of marijuana.”

In the new petition response, Blumenauer sent a motivational message to the signers

“It is because of your efforts and the incredible shifts in public opinion that we have made so much progress in reforming the treatment of marijuana in the states,” he said. “I will continue pressing federal agencies and Congress to follow that leadership.”

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