- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rep. Earl Blumenauer said on Wednesday that the acting director of the Drug Enforcement Agency is unfit to lead the department for having recently referred to medical marijuana as “a joke.”

During morning remarks on the House floor, Mr. Blumenauer, Oregon Democrat, said the interim DEA chief’s attitude on medicinal marijuana is “indicative of a throwback ideology rooted in the failed war on drugs,” and he urged the Obama administration to consider a replacement.

“Chuck Rosenberg, the acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency, recently called the notion of smoking medical marijuana a joke. What is a joke is the job Rosenberg is doing as acting DEA administrator,” Mr. Blumenauer said.

“Rosenberg is clearly not the right fit for the DEA in this administration,” the congressman continued. “He’s an example of the inept, misinformed zealot who has mismanaged America’s failed policy of marijuana prohibition.”

Mr. Blumenauer’s remarks were in direct response to comments made by the acting DEA chief earlier this month while fielding questions from reporters.

“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.

The majority of Americans disagree with that stance, however, as does the president — reason enough, Mr. Blumenauer said, for the administration to look elsewhere.

Citing statistics reflecting the growing support among Americans with respect to legal marijuana, both medicinal and recreational, the congressman said Mr. Rosenberg’s stance is typical of “the culture of opposition within the federal government,” and said the administration should consider a DEA head who will establish policies that reflect changing state laws, as well as the president’s own position.

Fifty-eight percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, Mr. Blumenauer said, and three-quarters believe pot should be allowed for medicinal purposes.

Following Mr. Rosenberg’s remark earlier this month, more than 90,000 people signed their name to a petition asking for him to be removed from office.

Last month, a study revealed that the percentage of adults in the United States who have smoked marijuana has more than doubled during the last decade to nearly 1-in-10.

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