- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 19, 2015

The nation’s capital has become a dramatic tableau for cannabis activists, a perfect venue. Some have come to express displeasure with the Drug Enforcement Administration, citing acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, who recently called medical cannabis a “joke.”

Those who use it in one form or another — including a Navy vet with PTSD and parents of ailing children — will deliver a petition Friday to the federal agency, bearing some 90,000 signatures and demanding that Mr. Rosenberg either step down or be fired for his remark. Rep. Earl Blumenauer agrees with them.

Six other lawmakers agree with the Oregon Democrat; the group has sent a letter to President Obama suggesting Mr. Rosenberg is not the “right person” for the job of administrator.

What caused the ruckus? Here’s what Mr. Rosenberg — a former federal prosecutor — actually said during a recent press conference:

“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal, because it’s not. 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,” Mr. Rosenberg said, adding that “extracts or constituents or component parts” of marijuana hold promise as medicine, rather than “smoking the leaf.”

The weighty petition will arrive at his doorstep in late morning. Organizers at Marijuana Majority, an advocacy group, advise, “While it’s nothing new for drug war bureaucrats to oppose sensible marijuana policies, Rosenberg’s comments go way too far. Medical marijuana is not a ‘joke’ to the millions of seriously ill patients in a growing number of states who use it legally in accordance with doctors’ recommendations.”

There must be something in the air, however.

On Saturday, Above Board Productions, a film production team, begins work on a TV comedy titled “East Coast Grow” — chronicling the comedic moments of “DC’s marijuana industry” — and advising that the fictional series will be “putting the pot in Potomac,” or words to that effect. The industry, producers say, “is rooted in its own political fights and entrepreneurial ambitions.”

But wait, there’s more. In mid-December, the first-ever High Times Business Summit arrives at a major D.C. hotel “to convene experts in policy, government, medicine, business and lifestyle in our nation’s capitol.”

The organizers also track political dynamics elsewhere.

“It is not your normal help wanted ad, but California Governor Jerry Brown’s office is spearheading a state-wide search by the California Department of Consumer Affairs to fill the post as head of the soon-to-be-established Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, that is, Chief of Pot,” the groups notes in a news release.

“It sounds like the dream job to get in on the ground floor of California’s push to regulate medical marijuana. And the pay is not bad either – between $115,608 to $128,808 per year.”

ONE-LINERS: CANDIDATE PLANS FOR ISIS

In grim times, how would Republican presidential hopefuls deal with the Islamic State? It is a ready topic on the campaign trail this week, pared down to essential one-liners. A sampling:

“We will not degrade them, not weaken them, we will utterly destroy them.” (Sen. Ted Cruz, to broadcast host Glenn Beck.)

“I will quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS. We’ll make the military so strong, no one, and I mean no one, will mess with us.” (Donald Trump, in a new campaign ad.)

“We need to create a winning strategy to dismantle and destroy the Islamic State while planting seeds for a more peaceful, healthy and cohesive society in the war-torn regions of the Middle East.” (Ben Carson, in a Washington Post op-ed.)

“When I am president, what I will do to defeat ISIL is very simple: whatever it takes.” (Sen. Marco Rubio, in a Politico op-ed.)

“Militarily, we need to intensify our efforts in the air — and on the ground. While air power is essential, it alone cannot bring the results we seek. (Jeb Bush, in a speech at The Citadel.)

WEEKEND CANDIDATE TRACKER

Big doings in Iowa for Republicans: Seven candidates: Ben Carson, Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul; Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum will be in Des Moines on Friday for the Family Leader Foundation’s Presidential Family Forum; all will then fan out around the state for myriad smaller events at eateries, private homes and town halls. The sole Democrat in Iowa: Hillary Rodham Clinton heads to, uh, Clinton — for a town hall in a middle school.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Mr. Carson head for the 20/20 Leaders of America’s Presidential Justice Forum in Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday. The busy Mr. Carson then appears at 12 more events, including additional stops in New Hampshire and Nevada. Mr. Sanders ventures to three other cities in Iowa and will be in Georgia by Sunday.

After campaign stops in Iowa and South Carolina, Donald Trump will also be in Alabama for a jumbo rally in Birmingham on Saturday, followed by another in Columbus, Ohio. Gov. Chris Christie is in New Hampshire at five events this weekend, staged at a bowling alley and a baseball-themed diner, among other spots.

THE LATE-NIGHT SHAKEOUT

Political leanings still influence what Americans watch in the wee hours. The Hollywood Reporter has surveyed 1,000 late-night viewers, and here’s what they found. Republicans are not all that sold on any of the eager new replacements for retired hosts like Jay Leno and David Letterman.

Among the GOPers, 33 percent tune into ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, 31 percent watch NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and 17 percent peek in on CBS’ Stephen Colbert. And Democrats? Almost half — 47 percent — look in on Mr. Colbert, 36 percent tune into Mr. Fallon and 34 percent watch Mr. Kimmel. In this era of the DVR, viewers could say they watched more than one show.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Home of Union Army Gen. Solomon Meredith, commander of the Iron Brigade; built in 1836 in Cambridge, Indiana. Eight bedrooms, five bathrooms, 6,567 square feet on 12 acres. Completely renovated; seven fireplaces, four chimneys, front and rear staircases. All brick, “opulent woodworking,” wood floors throughout, exterior balcony, front columns, multiple outbuildings and barn, several hundred apple trees, formal landscaping, stone walls. Priced at $325,000 through Lingle.com; enter MLS No. 10025896 in search function - or find it here.

POLL DU JOUR

72 percent of Republican primary voters think Donald Trump is the better of the two national front-runners when it comes to managing the economy; 24 percent prefer Ben Carson.

68 percent say Mr. Carson has the more presidential temperament; 25 percent cite Mr. Trump.

66 percent say Mr. Trump can better handle illegal immigration; 26 percent cite Mr. Carson.

62 percent say Mr. Carson can work with Congress better; 30 percent cite Mr. Trump.

61 percent say Mr. Carson has the right values to lead the nation; 26 percent cite Mr. Trump.

55 percent say Mr. Trump can better handle Islamic terrorism; 29 percent cite Mr. Carson.

Source: A Bloomberg Politics poll of 379 registered Republican voters, conducted Nov. 15-17.

Trite comments, good advice to jharper@washingtontimes.com. Kindly follow her on Twitter @HarperBulletin here

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