A petition to fire Chuck Rosenberg, the acting head of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), is fully underway and quickly gaining traction. Petitioned by Marijuana Majority, an action group that encourages voices big and small to speak out in favor of marijuana, the campaign began after Rosenberg made highly offensive comments dismissing the medicinal properties of the plant. In a press conference, Rosenberg called medical marijuana a “joke.”
Rosenberg’s comments hit founder and chairman of Marijuana Majority Tom Angell close to home. “My mom uses medical marijuana to deal with the severe pain caused by multiple sclerosis,” says Tom. It’s no secret that the active ingredients in cannabis have proven to treat cancer, AIDS, and other debilitating ailments.
This isn’t the first time Rosenberg has made disparaging and highly unfounded comments about cannabis use. Earlier this summer, Rosenberg backtracked on a statement claiming that marijuana was “probably not” as dangerous as heroin. The statement provoked ridicule and prompted him to definitively state that heroin is the clearer danger.
So far, the campaign has garnered over 100,000 signatures after just two weeks of its launch. The petition states that “while it’s nothing new for drug war bureaucrats to oppose sensible marijuana policies, Rosenberg’s comments go way too far.” It goes on to say that “medical marijuana is no joke to the millions of seriously ill patients in a growing number of states who use it legally in accordance with doctor’s recommendations.”
In fact, prominent medical organizations like the American Nurses Association, American College of Physicians and American Academy of Family Physicians support the real and proven medical benefits of cannabis.
The missive ends with a clear request: “President Obama should fire Chuck Rosenberg and appoint a new DEA administrator who will respect science, medicine, patients and voters.”
The tidal wave of public outrage reached the front steps of the DEA headquarters on November 20, when a coalition of medicinal marijuana supporters delivered the more than 100,000 petition signatures.
This isn’t the first petition attempting to oust a DEA administrator. A couple of years ago, the Marijuana Policy Project campaigned to fire DEA head Michele Leonhart after she failed to recognize that marijuana was less harmful than alcohol. The petition received less than half the signatures of the most recent effort.
The DEA is getting plenty of pushback from all fronts. In a scathing report, the Brookings Institute called out the federal government for stifling medical research that could have a great impact on public health and safety. The DEA was called out for consistently roadblocking attempts to change the federal schedule status of cannabis, even at the request of federal judges.
Currently, 23 states, the District of Columbia and Guam have some sort of medical marijuana program. Seventeen additional states allow the limited use of marijuana extracts for children who suffer from severe seizure disorders. According to Americans for Safe Access, more than two million Americans treat their ailments with medical cannabis, in accordance with state laws.