It didn't take DEA head Chuck Rosenberg long to get himself in the hot seat. Chuck Rosenberg recently made comments that referred to medical marijuana as a 'joke.' Those comments resulted in Tom Angell and the Marijuana Majority starting a petition calling for the termination of Chuck Rosenberg. That petition currently has 95,912 signers as of this blog post. The petitions will be delivered to the DEA headquarters tomorrow by medical marijuana patients. It would be fantastic to see that petition top 100,000 before that time, so if you haven't signed it yet, please do so, and tell everyone that you know to do the same. Below is a quote from Tom Angell about the growing pressure for Obama to fire Mr. Rosenberg:
"The call for change at DEA is picking up steam. Calling medical marijuana a 'joke' runs counter to science showing that cannabis has medical value, and it is out of step with the vast majority of Americans who polls show overwhelmingly support enacting laws to protect patients from arrest. Nearly 100,000 people have signed our petition saying that Rosenberg should lose his job. Now a bipartisan group of lawmakers has placed this controversy right on President Obama's desk. If he doesn't act to make a change soon, this is going to be a continuing political problem for his administration."
In addition to the petitions being signed by citizens, members of Congress are also calling for Obama to terminate Chuck Rosenberg. Below is a press release that I received from Congressman Earl Blumenauer's office:
Today, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), joined by Representatives 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), sent a letter to President Obama calling for new leadership at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) following recent comments by the Acting Administrator, referring to the notion of smoking medical marijuana as 'a joke.'
"Mr. Rosenberg's comments are outrageous and misleading. The last 20 years has shown overwhelming testimonial evidence of the benefits of medical marijuana, leading 23 states, DC, and Guam to change their laws," said Representative Blumenauer. "President Obama has taken action to respect state medical marijuana laws. Mr. Rosenberg is out of step with the Administration and out of touch. It's time for new leadership."
In the letter, the lawmakers also call out Rosenberg's hypocrisy in statements he made highlighting a lack of information demonstrating the safety or effectiveness of marijuana as medicine. Current federal policies make it very difficult for doctors and scientists to conduct the medical research with marijuana necessary to obtain this information, and the DEA has been integral to limiting access to marijuana that can be legally used for research.
"The real joke is that the DEA has played a huge role in propping up federal policies that have systematically blocked research of marijuana's medicinal value. If there are any questions about its safety or effectiveness, it's because the federal government continues to stymie science," said Representative Blumenauer.
Yesterday, November 18, Representative Blumenauer took to the floor of the House calling for a new DEA chief. Additionally, a petition organized by Marijuana Majority on Change.org demanding that Rosenberg be fired has garnered more than 90,000 signatures.