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Lawmakers Tell Obama to Fire DEA Head Over Marijuana Comments

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A bipartisan group of members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama on Thursday demanding that he fire DEA head Chuck Rosenberg for calling medical marijuana a “joke.”

Rosenberg’s “statements are indicative of a throwback ideology rooted in the failed War on Drugs,” the lawmakers, led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), wrote. “They do not reflect the overwhelming body of testimonial evidence, reforms happening across the country at the state level and in Congress, or the opinion of the American people – and they certainly don’t reflect statements you’ve made or actions you’ve directed your agencies to take. Rather, these statements demonstrate Mr. Rosenberg is not the right person to lead the DEA.”

The letter follows an impassioned floor speech Blumenauer delivered on Wednesday in which he called Rosenberg “an inept, misinformed zealot who has mismanaged America’s failed policy of marijuana prohibition.”

Joining Blumenauer in signing the new letter are Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Jim McDermott (D-WA).

They wrote that Rosenberg’s comments “send a clear signal to the American people that the federal government isn’t listening to them. It erodes trust. Cavalier statements like these fly in the face of state policy and the experience of millions of patients. Over 75 percent of the public supports allowing for the use of medical marijuana if recommended by a physician and surveys have found that a majority of physicians also support legalizing medical marijuana.”

The letter comes after nearly 100,000 people signed a Change.org petition decrying Rosenberg’s comments and calling for him to be fired or resign.

“Through his statements, Mr. Rosenberg has demonstrated he is not the right person to hold the job as head of the DEA and we urge you to find new leadership that can work to develop the right tools to properly rationalize our treatment of marijuana,” the members of Congress wrote to the president.

A group of medical marijuana patients has announced that they will deliver printed copies of the petition to DEA headquarters on Friday.

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