In a previous article, titled Marijuana Movement, I mentioned the acting Drug Enforcement Agency’s leader, Chuck Rosenberg, and his unfounded remarks about how marijuana is not medicine, and how that idea is “a joke,” as he put it. Of course, many were deeply disturbed by that assertion, myself included, and now there is a call for President Obama to fire Mr. Rosenberg, and replace him with someone “who will respect science, medicine, patients and voters,” as a recent petition on Change.org demands. I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment, and want to encourage anyone who has not yet signed this petition to do so. This man obviously has no business managing a federal agency that is responsible for enforcing drug laws, when he obviously has no understanding of the currently complicated situation involving marijuana.
More recently, the DEA tried to do some damage control and defended Mr. Rosenberg’s statements, issuing this statement on Thursday:
“To clarify, Acting Administrator Rosenberg indicated that marijuana should be subject to the same levels of approval and scrutiny as any other substance intended for use as a medicine. DEA supports efforts to research potential medical uses of marijuana. To this end, DEA has never denied a registration request from anyone conducting marijuana research using FDA approved protocols. Acting Administrator Rosenberg was also clear to point out there are a number of marijuana components and/or extracts which appear to show promise as medicines, but have not yet been approved as safe and effective. His comments reflected the fact that FDA has not approved any medicinal uses for smoked marijuana.”
Although the context within which Chuck Rosenberg made these statements is important, this statement says very little of the sentiments behind his own remarks. It doesn’t matter whether the DEA has actively blocked research into medical marijuana, or whether or not the FDA has “approved any medicinal uses for smoked marijuana.” The fact of the matter is that the science shows that there are many medicinal purposes for marijuana, and the delivery method is mostly a matter of preference. Aside from this, the FDA hasn’t approved the medicinal use of a large portion of medicinal plants and herbal remedies, but that means very little to those who take a holistic approach to health. The use of cannabis is more akin to herbal, homeopathic, or even osteopathic medicine than the conventional approach of allopathic medicine. So, it is to be expected that the FDA has not approved of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
What does come through in Mr. Rosenberg’s claim that medical marijuana is a joke, is his restrictive attitude toward toward a plant; a very potent, healing herbal remedy, which he obviously views as a harmful drug. Thankfully this attitude is one that has been changing among the general public, especially since many states have been legalizing the use of marijuana for medicine. But that rigid, authoritarian, and unteachable approach that Chuck Rosenberg exemplifies is not going to serve the people or the cause of legalization well. Perhaps Mr. Rosenberg has some special interest in keeping marijuana classified as a Schedule I drug, right along with other truly dangerous substances, such as heroin and meth? With how prevalent marijuana is today, and how much more widespread it will become as more states legalize recreational weed, maybe Mr. Rosenberg feels that it is a threat to his job security. Either way, now that he’s angered thousands of medical marijuana patients and many thousands of legalization supporters, he may need to be concerned about that anyways.
The continual ignorance and myth perpetuation of the “old guard,” and others who would rather not see cannabis and its devotees freed from tyranny, is not only out-dated and passing away but it has been, and continues to be, extremely harmful to innocent human beings, especially during the last century. There are individuals who have been in prison for years, some who even face life sentences, for possession of marijuana. Though medical marijuana is legal in many states, there has even been a concerted effort to target MMJ patients for using marijuana products, such as oils, by using crime lab results that give an ambiguous determination and allow for police to assert that the substance is an illegal synthetic drug. This has happened recently in Michigan, and one unfortunate victim of these underhanded tactics, named Max Lorincz, has now suffered over a year of court trials and the removal of his six year old son.
It is obvious that both law enforcement, and many government officials, are either unready or unwilling to listen to the will of the people in regard to cannabis. If our leaders aren’t willing to face the facts and accept that the people want legalization and access to medical marijuana, then we will have them removed and replaced with others who will listen. U.S. drug policy has been informed by propaganda, lies, fear, and xenophobia for far too long. It is time that marijuana be removed from the schedule of controlled substances, to let the states allow for the people to decide how it is used, taxed, and regulated. It is a matter of social justice and freedom, and the people are ready for change.