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Tag: DEA

Open Letter to DEA Chief: It’s Not Time to Resign – Yet – of Marijuana Remarks

Chuck Rosenberg

Chuck Rosenberg

By David Casarett, M.D.
for Huffington Post

Dear Mr. Rosenberg:

When I heard you say recently that you thought medical marijuana was a “joke,” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. But I knew then what I think you’re beginning to figure out now, which is that saying something like that gets you in a whole heap of trouble.

As I think you’ve realized, those opinions are direct repudiation of the beliefs of all of those people who are using marijuana for medical reasons. (Even the most conservative estimates based on registered users conclude that well over a millionpeople in the U.S. alone are using marijuana medically).

So I’m sorry for what you’ve been through in the past two weeks. Especially those pesky people (about 100,000 of them) who have signed a petition calling for your resignation. That must be bothering you a bit.

But don’t give up. All is not lost, and you could learn to see marijuana differently.

I can say that with confidence because two years ago I thought medical marijuana was a joke too. I figured it offered no real medical benefits, and that it was just a way to get high legally.

My (re)education started in my work as a palliative care physician, when one of my patients asked me whether I thought medical marijuana might help her. The answer I gave her, I’m embarrassed to admit, is pretty much what you told people of United States: Marijuana has no medical benefits. Put simply, I told her that the idea of “medical” marijuana is a joke.

That patient of mine could’ve walked out of my office to look for another, more open-minded doctor. But, luckily for me, she didn’t. Instead she handed me several reprints of randomized controlled trials showing that in fact medical marijuana does offer real medical benefits.

So in that moment I had to admit that my patient knew more than I did about the science of medical marijuana. And I figured if I was that ignorant about marijuana’s benefits, then many of my colleagues probably were too. That’s when I decided to spend two years researching and writing a book about the medical benefits of marijuana.

In the last two years I’ve had to admit that I was wrong. Very wrong. (In much the same way, and for the same reasons, that you’re wrong now.)

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

Pressure Mounts for Resignation of DEA Chief After Comments About Marijuana

medical marijuanaBy Steve Neavling

The pressure is mounting for President Obama to fire the head of the DEA after his remarks dismissing medical marijuana as a “joke.”

The Washington Post reports that the call for ousting the acting DEA leader, Chuck Rosenberg, has increased with a bipartisan group of seven lawmakers calling for his replacement.

The remarks “do not reflect the overwhelming body of testimonial evidence, reforms happening across the country at the state level and in Congress, or the opinion of the American people.”

Nearly 100,000 people signed an online petition to call for Rosenberg’s resignation.

Rosenberg took the top job at the DEA six months ago and has made several statements about marijuana that run counter to research on pot.

Congressman Calls for Resignation of DEA Chief Over Marijuana Remarks

MarijuanaBy Steve Neavling

Rep. Early Blumenauer called for the resignation Wednesday of the acting DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg for saying it’s a “joke” to suggest that marijuana has medicinal benefits, the Huffington Post reports. 

“Rosenberg is clearly not the right fit for the DEA in this administration,” Blumenauer said during a speech on the House floor Wednesday morning.

Rosenberg made the comments earlier this month.

“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal — because it’s not,” Rosenberg said. “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.”

Blumenauer fired back.

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

He added: “Rosenberg’s claim that more research is necessary is true, but it reeks of hypocrisy because the DEA under his leadership has made badly needed cannabis research difficult, often impossible.”

DEA Busts 2 Members of Venezuelan President’s Family in Alleged Drug-Smuggling Scheme

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, via Wikipedia.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling

The DEA has busted a drug-smuggling ring that led to the arrest of the Venezuelan president’s family in Haiti, reports. 

Arrested were two nephews of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Efrain Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores Freites are accused of trying to smuggle 1,700 pounds of cocaine from Haiti to the U.S.

The nephews tried to claim they had diplomatic immunity, a claim that didn’t work with the DEA.

They were taken to New York awaiting a court hearing today.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA to Crack Down on Heroin Abuse with First-of-Its-Kind Program

800px-HeroinBy Steve Neavling

Hoping to crackdown on the rise of heroin and opioid abuse, the DEA has launched a first-of-its-kind program to target drug-related crime.

The Tribune-Review reports that the pilot program will be established in the Pittsburgh and focus on finding long-term solutions.

That will involve working with health care and social services agencies.

Why Pittsburgh?

Local authorities have been shocked by the proliferation of heroin and drug overdoses recently.

“Heroin and pill overdoses are through the roof, and it’s making us in law enforcement look at some different approaches,” DEA spokesman Patrick Trainor said.

In Pennsylvania, heroin or opioid deaths have increased from 47 in 2009 to more than 800 in 2013.

It’s not year clear how the pilot program will work and what impact it will have on existing prevention and enforcement efforts.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Chief Agrees with FBI Director Comey That Police Are Less Aggressive After Ferguson

police lightsBy Steve Neavling

The head of the DEA said Wednesday that he agrees with other law enforcement officials that police are less aggressive because of the racially-charged incidents captured on videotape.

Chuck Rosenberg said he agrees with FBI Director James Comey that the tensions nationwide have had a chilling effect on police.

“I think there’s something to it,” Rosenberg said during a press briefing on drug statistics at DEA headquarters in Arlington. “I think he’s spot on. I’ve heard the same thing.”

President Obama has disputed the claims, saying police continue to do their jobs diligently.

Whether the less aggressive policing has had an effect on crime won’t be known immediately, Rosenberg said, agreeing with Comey that it’s to early to draw conclusions.

Heroin Becomes Law Enforcement’s Biggest Concern As Use Skyrockets

800px-HeroinBy Steve Neavling

Law enforcement nationwide believe heroin abuse is the largest drug threat, overtaking methamphetamine, according to a new DEA survey.

NBC News reports that the seizure of heroin has nearly doubled over the past five years, while the 51% more people are using the highly addictive drug.

“Heroin availability is up across the country, as are abuses, overdoses, and overdose deaths,” says the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, released Wednesday.

One reason heroin has become so popular is because of prescription painkiller abuse. Painkillers and heroin are both opiates.

The number of deaths in 2013 – 46,471 – is the highest on record.

“Roughly half of the overdose deaths are related to abuse of prescription drugs and another 8,000 involve heroin. So combined those two things account for two-thirds of the overdose deaths,” said DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Agent’s Gun Fires As Suspect Tries to Wrestle a Gun from Him

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling

It was a tense moment for a DEA agent who was trying to arrest a drug suspect.

The suspect tried to remove a gun from the agent, causing the weapon to fire as the suspect and a female suspect fled in a hotel parking lot near JFK Airport on Tuesday, the New York Post reports. 

A witness saw the incident unfold and initially thought the agent was the aggressor as the female suspect screamed.

“He was running after her and she was running back towards the Hampton Inn parking lot. He jumped and tackled her here behind the car, like a football tackle,” said Tyesha Davis, 29.

“I ran over and started hitting him, saying, ‘Get off her!’ He reached in his shirt and pulled out a badge and said, ‘Stop, I’m a DEA officer.’”

“I asked, ‘Who is she?’ and he said, ‘She’s a drug trafficker, I’m making an arrest,’” Davis continued.

The man who tried to wrestle the gun away from the agent was still at large Tuesday night.

Other Stories of Interest