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New DEA Leader Suspects Marijuana Is Not As Bad As Heroin

drug enforcement agency dea

(via Wikipedia.com)

By Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director

Newly appointed head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Chuck Rosenberg, says that marijuana is “probably” not as dangerous as heroin.

Rosenberg’s comments, issued Tuesday, are seemingly in conflict with marijuana’s Schedule I classification under federal law, which places it in the same category as heroin and is a lesser category than cocaine. The law defines cannabis and its dozens of distinct cannabinoids as possessing “a high potential for abuse … no currently accepted medical use, … [and]a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug … under medical supervision.”

Predictably, Rosenberg did emphasize that he believed cannabis posed potential harms, stating:”If you want me to say that marijuana’s not dangerous, I’m not going to say that because I think it is. Do I think it’s as dangerous as heroin? Probably not. I’m not an expert.”

However, Rosenberg acknowledged that he has asked DEA offices “to focus their efforts and the resources of the DEA on the most important cases in their jurisdictions, and by and large what they are telling [him]is that the most important cases in their jurisdictions are opioids and heroin.”

Rosenberg’s predecessor, Michelle Leonhart vigorously defended marijuana’s Schedule I classification. She oversaw dozens of raids on medical marijuana providers, criticized the President on his remarks of marijuana’s safety in relation to alcohol, and rejected an administrative petition calling for marijuana rescheduling hearings. NORML is pleased that although the new DEA administrator, by his own admission is not “an expert” on cannabis, he apparently possesses a better grasp on marijuana and it’s evident differences compared to other schedule 1 substances.

Rosenberg’s comments, coupled with those of NIDA Director Nora Volkow publically espousing the safety of CBD indicate that it may no longer be a question of if the federal government will move to reclassify cannabis but when.

Source: NORML - make a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. Low THC, high CBD non-psychoactive cannabis is still Schedule 1. How can this possibly be justified even by a fervent cannabis hater, it doesn’t get you high, there’s no potential for abuse. The President should fix this today, Congress should fix this today, the courts should fix this today. What’s to even think about? Bloody dereliction of duty at all levels in the federal government.

  2. Look, we can either have baby steps or no steps. Giant leaps, like gay marriage, take time. Since gay marriage took about 15 years to go from the first state to national, we can expect something similar with marijuana.

  3. He has to consider the most important ill effect to be the harm a decline in prohibitionary fervor will do to his budget. It is how Harry Anslinger got his start.

  4. Karen Ferguson on

    I forced myself to read this: I didn’t want to be disheartened. YAY!! Head-way! It is the ethical thing to do.

  5. But what kind of expertise would be required to make that call? High school diploma?
    Less than that, I think. Most high school students know the difference. Most of them also know the difference between alcohol and marijuana. If he can’t say that of course heroin is more dangerous than cannabis, I don’t think I’d be any amused by his views on alcohol vs. cannabis. It would be good to have him on record on the subject though, for purposes of ridicule.
    I’m shocked he could say something so ignorant about cannabis vs. heroin. Reminds me of old Michele Liarheart, I thought we were done with such reefer madness in high office.

  6. DEA about to make a decree on freedom? What would we do without Governments telling us how to live life. Hail the great and powerful lords of government. ( Sarcasm Fin.) As one poster explained here. How on earth can the DEA stand for leadership, when in reality they’re dumb as a box of rocks. DEA is so stupid, they threw a crack rock at the ground and missed.

    DEA and I quote ” I think it is” shows DEA is playing games with the lives of millions. Clearly they’re on a morality mission based on lies, fear and prison profit. DEA is outdated, nobody should be okay with this organization taking millions from the people.

  7. In other news, the CEO of Ford recently stated, “I don’t know much about them car thingys”.

  8. I used to think that way. But now I think these “baby steps” actually hurt us. Our opponents will say “you got your pot” and stop right there. These half ass measures are only there so the anti cannabis people can pretend they aren’t being vile human beings.

  9. His answer still pisses me off. If any of us were making a six figure income like this douche bag we’ed be fired for looking so stupid.

  10. Señor SmokesALot on

    He’s the head of the fucking DEA shouldn’t he be an “expert” on every drug. Drug Enforcement Agency. Am I right or am I right?

  11. Not as utterly clueless and/or cynical as his predecessor, so I guess
    that’s something. But what kind of expertise would be required to make
    that call? High school diploma?

  12. “Do I think it’s as dangerous as heroin? Probably not. I’m not an expert.”

    You don’t need to be any kind of expert to know the obvious answer to that question. What a pathetic response.

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