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Blumenauer Stands Up to the DEA for Medical Marijuana

Like Batman in a bowtie, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) heard the distress call of his constituents and leapt into action. Upon hearing the contentious words from Drug Enforcement Administration Chief Chuck Rosenberg that caused such an outrage among the medical marijuana community, Rep. Blumenauer took action in the most precise and effective way possible for a lawmaker.

First, he denounced the remarks in Congress on Wednesday, saying that Rosenberg’s troubling perspective is “indicative of a throwback ideology rooted in the failed war on drugs,” and a clear sign that the former federal prosecutor is unfit for the job.

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

Blumenauer spoke with the eloquence and conviction of a man who has seen both sides of this war and ultimately won the battle against prohibition.

While his words swept through Congress, the petition that started the movement cascaded across the 100,000 signature mark, just as pollsters Marijuana Majority prepared to submit the final tally to the government. As it turns out, their cause would be getting an unanticipated boost.

Within 24 hours, Rep. Blumenauer went one step further. Together with a group of bipartisan members of Congress, the representatives sent a signed letter to President Obama.

Blumenauer uses Rosenberg’s own statements against him, first noting the danger of trivializing the importance of cannabis as medicine and the many states with successful medical marijuana programs. Next, he calls out the “deep hypocrisy” of the Drug Enforcement Administration for even saying that cannabis has never been shown to be safe or effective:

“The only reason there are remaining doubts about the safety or effectiveness of marijuana, or questions about the proper applications of extracts or component parts, is because federal policies have routinely hampered medical marijuana research for decades. The DEA itself has been integral to limiting access to marijuana that can legally be used for research, creating bottleneck and uncertainty challenges for potential researchers.

"Additionally, the DEA has continuously denied petitions to reschedule marijuana, leaving it at the tightly controlled Schedule I level, also limiting the ability of researchers to closely examine it as medicine.”

The letter ends with an urging for President Obama to find new leadership, as “Mr. Rosenberg has demonstrated he is not the right person to hold the job as the head of the DEA.”

Six bipartisan members of Congress signed Blumenauer's letter:

  • Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
  • Sam Farr (D-CA)
  • Steve Cohen (D-TN)
  • Barbara Lee (D-CA)
  • Jim McDermott (D-WA)
  • Ted Lieu (D-CA)

It's worth noting that every politician who has signed on here has also made a point of supporting medical marijuana legislation, and the majority of the signees hail from a legal medical state.

Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project voiced his support at the Drug Policy Reform Conference for replacing Rosenberg, aptly noting that "If someone's behaving badly and not following administrative policy, you fire them."

During a time when the political climate towards cannabis has shifted nearly overnight, these powerful allies in Congress have proven that they recognize the will of their constituents and will truly represent their citizens, even in a fight with the big dogs.

Image Credits: USDA via Flickr Creative Commons, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons