New DEA Leader Suspects Marijuana Is Not As Bad As Heroin

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate July 30, 2015

    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.


    44 responses to “New DEA Leader Suspects Marijuana Is Not As Bad As Heroin”

    1. Just An Observer says:

      “Probably”…LOL! The real joke is that we citizens are paying this person a six-figure salary with bennies.

    2. End of the Rope says:

      What a lying puppet.

      “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.”

      It seems these days that there’s no end to the number of people who will,for a paycheck, say anything. Lying to over 300 million people doesn’t seem to be a point of moral inventory for this kind of sub-human. For most younger people these days it probably sounds like the status quo and is excepted just like the sun coming up, but for older people who have in there life time watched freedom slowly be taken away it is the most infuriating and unforgettable violation of trust that has ever been served to free thinking people. They’re betraying not just people but all of mankind with their behavior. We deserve better and we’re demanding better from them. The voting booth is the greatest weapon of mass destruction that ever existed and we will use it come Election Day.

    3. End of the Rope says:

      One more thing. Yes I know he’s not an elected official. So please spare me the insult.

    4. RUT says:

      This is still a timid effort to start backing away from from a non scientific position. The real enemy of pot is propaganda from government. They try to play like this is some discovery that was unknown like a new planet or something after they restricted research except for themselves. The fact that in this day and time after years of flat out deceiving the public under the guise of protecting the young we have done the opposite of protecting. Most of you who know this issue well know we have been up against stupidity and out right disrespect from our government. Many states want to continue to use this issue for jobs. The job of arresting our young for profit and jobs is a farce. When you vote know the position on legalization your candidate has and vote accordingly. States like florida and texas would be better off just decriminalized. FLA &TEXAS will regulate it out of existence. Fight propaganda when it shows itself and vote the dinosaurs out of office.

    5. Nunslaughter says:

      And I suspect a civilized society does not have government agencies dictating what you may or may not consume.

    6. Miles says:

      In general, this seems like really good news!

      However, living in Virginia, I am not optimistic that the powers that be here at the State level will legalize it since Republicans outnumber the Democrats. Here in VA, all Republicans voted not to allow decriminalization and all Democrats voted to allow decriminalization.

      My family has decided to move from this Un-American (I consider senseless prohibition and draconian laws to be anti-freedom and thus Anti-American) state somewhere we can live in peace. We are good people that follow the law in all other areas except that we choose to use cannabis. I am terribly tired of fearing law enforcement when I should feel protected by them!

      I wonder why someone who is not a drug expert has been placed into the position Rosenberg now holds. It seems strange but at least he doesn’t seem like the friggin’ nightmare that is Michelle Leonhart! Just looking at her ugly picture gives me goosebumps.

    7. Closetsmoker says:

      Kinda strange that someone who is the head of a department is not learned about the very thing they are supposed to be lord over….

    8. TheOracle says:

      This is tantamount to a plain old English remove cannabis from the schedule recommendation to Congress. Same goes for NIDA. The acknowledgement about CBDs by Dr. Nora Volkow is the green light for Congress to remove cannabis from the schedule.

      Gov. Christie just doesn’t have the charisma to be president, but feel free to ignore New Jersey by being too busy running for president, please. A Democratic executive and legislature in NJ ought to move legalization forward, you know, having to have done the heavy lifting of waiting out the hindrance, also known as Chris Christie. If loudmouth bullies could only be their own bodyguards would they still go off on people like that?

      Pennsylvania legalized gambling casinos and Jersey’s Atlantic City casinos take a loss, some close up. Hey, I don’t gamble but dang if I would go to Atlantic City for a couple of days to enjoy legal adult recreational.

      If Congress is waiting for a loud and clear letterhead recommendation for cannabis to be removed from the schedule, then the DEA and NIDA heads get together and both sign the letter. Maybe if you sent a box of chocolate with each letter sent to each member of Congress that sugar boost would be enough to get them to do some work and remove cannabis from the schedule.

    9. mark....L says:

      Well its about time that the dea wake’s up and smell’s the coffee..our country has been run for to long by corporations like tabbaco industries big pharma law enforcement prisons politics just to name a few’ our leaders ..they are all bought and paid for.. its time for a big change in this country..we the people have got to do something ..and the best way we can do that is to vote out the old farts and let the young ones with new idea’s to help change the ways of our country the track we are on now is total destruction ..i have to say it but trump is right..this country needs to be the greatest country once again we can do it just vote out the idiots..someone needs to see where trump is on medical cannabis and rec..cannabis..my doctor has been giving me hydrocodone for pain ..i hate it we really need to keep pushing for cannabis legalization ..it is the safest drug on earth thanks for all the great articles norml /we need a president that will listen to the PEOPLE

    10. Jamie says:

      “I’m not an expert.” Why not, you’re the head of the flipping DEA. That’s the damn problem! Let’s get someone that is an expert