Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenberg last week called medical marijuana “a joke.”
But medical marijuana advocates aren’t laughing.
Instead, they are calling for President Obama to fire Mr. Rosenberg over the comments, which he made during a wide-ranging interview with reporters.
As of Tuesday afternoon, close to 11,000 people had signed an online petition calling for the DEA’s acting administrator to be removed from office.
“While it’s nothing new for drug war bureaucrats to oppose sensible marijuana policies, Rosenberg’s comments go way too far,” reads the petition sponsored by the advocacy group Marijuana Majority. “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.”
Mr. Rosenberg made comments critical of arguments for the drug’s medicinal use after a reporter asked him whether the DEA had seen ill effects from a growing number of states legalizing marijuana.
“We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether or not we want to legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don’t call it medicine. That’s a joke,” he said.
The DEA administrator also acknowledged that some extracts of marijuana have shown potential to treat illnesses including childhood epilepsy, but said that shouldn’t be construed to mean that smoking marijuana is safe.
“My view is that we will support any legitimate research into the efficacy of marijuana for its constituent parts as a medicine,” Mr. Rosenberg said. “But I think the notion that state legislatures just decree it so, is ludicrous.”