That didn’t take long.
Patients and reformers are already calling for the resignation of Chuck Rosenberg, the new head of the DEA, after he called medical weed “a joke” during a press conference in November. As of Nov. 10, more than 10,000 angry people had signed a Change.org petition calling on him to quit.
Rosenberg was speaking with reporters Nov. 4 when he answered a question about MMJ.
“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal because it’s not,” Rosenberg said, according to CBS News. “We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don’t call it medicine — that is a joke.”
Rosenberg following in Leonhart’s footsteps
This is the same position the DEA has taken for decades, one espoused by Rosenberg’s predecessor, Michele Leonhart, before she resigned in disgrace earlier this year. Leonhart’s departure was seen by many pot advocates as a chance for major reform at the federal level.
Instead, they got Rosenberg, who quickly made it clear he will not stand for any degree of reform (at least not if it stops the DEA from seizing and keeping the legal assets of innocent people). Leonhart pursued the same approach until it helped destroy her tenure.
She was forced out over several issues, including a prominent scandal involving DEA agents, international drug traffickers, and prostitutes, all partying together in Colombia – and presumably doing drugs. But the DEA appears to be unwilling to learn its lesson on cannabis. Leonhart was viewed as a dinosaur, and Rosenberg isn’t doing much to discourage a similar reputation.
He tried to temper his comments by suggesting that non-intoxicating CBD oil may have medical uses. But like all drug warriors, he proved incapable of accepting the fact that some people, most people, enjoy getting high – and may even benefit from the experience.
Acknowledging benefits of CBD oil
“There are pieces of marijuana, extracts or constituents or component parts, that have great promise,” he said. “But if you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana, which is what people are talking about when they talk about medicinal marijuana, it has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine.”
That statement simply isn’t true. For one thing, most stoners prefer to smoke the flower bud of the marijuana plant, not its leaves. More importantly, reams of objective scientific evidence have firmly established the efficacy of weed in treating nausea, cancer, chronic pain, and insomnia, among other health problems. The DEA simply refuses to acknowledge that evidence because it doesn’t fit into the anti-drug narrative that keeps the agency in cash.
Research backing medical use
Activists quickly noted studies showing that weed helps with pain and spastic disorders such as multiple sclerosis. A recent meta-review of earlier MMJ studies found “moderate-quality evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain and spasticity.”
MMJ can be especially helpful for patients with chronic pain who are at risk of getting hooked on prescription painkillers. A massive wave of heroin overdoses plaguing the country has been tied to the reckless abandon with which many doctors recommended these deadly, addictive opiates. The medical community is reeling from the consequences of this callous over-prescribing, and many of the smarter physicians are finally turning to pot as a sane alternative.