Changes are coming to the Drug Enforcement Administration, and they could prove to be a positive step forward for the cannabis movement. Embattled DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart was asked to resign from her position last month after a widely publicized scandal involving DEA agents partying with prostitutes at a Colombian party funded by drug cartels. Since then, we’ve been left to speculate about the future of the DEA and what it will mean for cannabis in the United States.
One of the first tasks for Loretta Lynch, who recently replaced Eric Holder as the U.S.'s new Attorney General, involved mining the leading authorities in the Federal Bureau of Investigation to find a replacement for Ms. Leonhart. She ultimately chose Chuck Rosenberg, the chief of staff for current FBI Director James B. Comey, to take over the position as Chief Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency. In a statement released through the Justice Department, Lynch said:
“Chuck has earned the trust and praise of his colleagues at every level. He has proven himself as an exceptional leader, a skilled problem-solver, and a consummate public servant of unshakeable integrity.“
In a promising move for cannabis, Rosenberg has pledged to devote less time and money on the enforcement of marijuana, instead opting to focus on heroin and other, harder drugs, according to an anonymous senior administrative official. This is almost the exact opposite approach of Michele Leonhart, who was constantly at odds with both former Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama with regards to marijuana enforcement. Leonhart always pushed for a crackdown on legal medical and recreational states, while Holder and Obama have both encouraged a hands-off approach.
Considering how much power Rosenberg will have as acting leader of the DEA, this is outstanding news that can lead to upward momentum in the cannabis industry (as long as he keeps his promise). Welcome to the big leagues, Mr. Rosenberg. We hope you’re up for the challenge.