Congressman Demands Change at DEA: Medical Marijuana Is No ‘Joke’


A member of Congress who is leading the fight to reform federal marijuana laws took to the House floor on Wednesday morning and called for the head of President Obama’s top drug war official.

In the speech, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) added his voice to tens of thousands of others that have demanded the firing or resignation of Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), following his description of medical marijuana as a “joke.”

More than 90,000 people have signed a petition demanding Rosenberg’s ouster.

“What is a joke is the job Rosenberg is doing as acting DEA administrator,” Blumenauer said. “He is an example of an inept, misinformed zealot who has mismanaged America’s failed policy of marijuana prohibition.”

The petition calling for Rosenberg’s firing was uploaded by the organization Marijuana Majority less than two weeks ago and already has more signatures than 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.)

Rosenberg’s comments are a “throwback ideology rooted in the failed war on drugs, which needs to stop,” Blumenauer said. “This culture needs to change. Leadership needs to change. Rosenberg is clearly not the right fit for the DEA in this administration.”

The congressman has sponsored and signed on to numerous marijuana policy reform proposals, including a measure that would prevent DEA from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. He has also sponsored legislation to allow military veterans to more easily access medical cannabis by working with their doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I would hope that the president directs the heads of all relevant agencies to adjust their policies, clarify regulations that deal with marijuana laws, establish policies that reflect changing state laws and, most important, reflect the president’s own position,” Blumenauer said, referring to President Obama’s saying his administration has “bigger fish to fry” than going after low-level marijuana offenders.

“It’s time that the rest of his administration gets on board, and it should start with a new head of” DEA, Blumenauer said.

See video of his floor speech demanding change at the DEA here.

About Author

Tom Angell covers policy and politics for Separately, he serves as chairman of the nonprofit organization Marijuana Majority, which works to ensure that elected officials and the media treat legalization as a serious, mainstream issue. Marijuana Majority led the effort to get the U.S. Conference of Mayors to pass a resolution telling the federal government to respect state marijuana laws, and orchestrated the first-ever endorsement for marijuana legalization by a U.S. Supreme Court justice (John Paul Stevens). Previously, Tom worked for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (All organizations are listed for identification purposes only.)


  1. Rosenberg is living in some strange parallel universe, one where prohibition actually works.

    Here is part of the testimony of Judge Alfred J Talley, given before the Senate Hearings of 1926:

    “For the first time in our history, full faith and confidence in and respect for the hitherto sacred Constitution of the United States has been weakened and impaired because this terrifying invasion of natural rights has been engrafted upon the fundamental law of our land, and experience has shown that it is being wantonly and derisively violated in every State, city, and hamlet in the country.”

    “It has made potential drunkards of the youth of the land, not because intoxicating liquor appeals to their taste or disposition, but because it is a forbidden thing, and because it is forbidden makes an irresistible appeal to the unformed and immature. It has brought into our midst the intemperate woman, the most fearsome and menacing thing for the future of our national life.”

    “It has brought the sickening slime of corruption, dishonor, and disgrace into every group of employees and officials in city, State, and Federal departments that have been charged with the enforcement of this odious law.”

    • Only the names have changed. There are too many people in this country that think they should have the power to tell others how to live. All who want this power should remember what hapens to those who violate human rights in this country, they tend to die in jail.

    • but prohibition does work just not for us lolo… it works for the big pharma it works wonders for the private jails and the state that collects the fine money and such see it works maaan

  2. Blumenauer should be promoted. Rosenberg should absolutely be fired (he deserves a lot more than that).

    I wonder how many American politicians are taking note of what happened in Canada a few weeks ago in our federal election. Our drug war crazed PM Stephen Harper was kicked to the curb in dramatic fashion in favour of Justin Trudeau who is planning to legalize cannabis.

    I was noticing the other day that Chris Christie (prohibition loving idiot) signed a bill making a school in NJ the first in the country which allows kids to take high CBD medical cannabis at school to stop epileptic seizures and deal with self injurious behaviours brought on by Autism.

    Also, Hillary Clinton seems to be softening her position.

    Too little, too late (especially in Christie’s case) in my opinion…. but….

  3. I’m not a smoker but I know lots of people that use it to help their ailments ,you can bet big pharmacy lobbyist Are behind this.Another lie from Obama but what else is new, right! Why don’t they take this off of the schedule one list? That’s the biggest question!

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