On Monday, Rep. Earl Blumenauer
(D-Oregon) responded to a petition to remove Acting DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg
(see CannaBiz, 11/18
) in response to Rosenberg describing medical marijuana as "a joke."
Blumenauer's response supports the petition and its 143,862-and-counting signers. He and six colleagues have asked President Barack Obama to find "new DEA leadership that reflects the realities surrounding the status and perspectives about medical marijuana in the states, public opinion, research, and even the Administration."
Read Blumenauer's response in full below:
Dec 14, 2015 — There’s a revolution taking place across America to reform and modernize our marijuana laws, and no change is more profound than the treatment of medical marijuana. The reforms taking place are the result of the grassroots nature of this movement – including efforts by hundreds of thousands of people like you who signed this petition.
Over the last 20 years – despite the misguided federal prohibition of marijuana – we‘ve seen overwhelming evidence of the benefits of medical marijuana. The success of marijuana in offering relief for patients dealing with symptoms associated with chemotherapy, glaucoma, PTSD, chronic pain, and more has led 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam to change their laws and fully legalize medical marijuana. An additional 17 states have approved more limited programs. Well over one million people now use medical marijuana in accordance with their state’s law.
It’s outrageous that the Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) would trivialize these important programs and experiences. Chuck Rosenberg’s comments, calling medical marijuana “a joke,” are out of step with growing scientific evidence and the experience and opinion of the American people. He also ignores reforms happening across the nation – and the President, who long ago directed his Administration to stay out of the way of states’ legalization efforts.
These statements are also deeply hypocritical. While there are important questions that still need to be answered about medical marijuana, the research that would provide those answers is often blocked by federal policy barriers – supported by the DEA.
It’s time to reject the outdated War on Drugs that Mr. Rosenberg represents through his comments. This is why I, along with six of my colleagues, recently sent a letter to President Obama echoing your concerns and calling for new DEA leadership that reflects the realities surrounding the status and perspectives about medical marijuana in the states, public opinion, research, and even the Administration. As the momentum continues to grow on medical marijuana, and broader marijuana reform, the federal government must catch up. I’m working hard in Congress to treat state-legal marijuana businesses fairly, to ensure better access to medical marijuana for veterans, to expand medical marijuana research, and ultimately, to tax and regulate marijuana at the federal level.
Thank you to everyone who signed this petition. It is because of your efforts and the incredible shifts in public opinion that we have made so much progress in reforming the treatment of marijuana in the states. I will continue pressing federal agencies and Congress to follow that leadership.
Member of Congress
To read the original text of the petition, go to chn.ge/1kol2Hu.