The Obama Administration has been a mixed bag when it comes to marijuana policy. On one hand, the Obama Administration has dropped the ball on reclassifying/declassifying marijuana, punting the issue to Congress every chance the administration gets despite the fact that the administration could initiative the process unilaterally. The administration hasn’t done a good job when it comes to marijuana banking, but has stated that it will allow Native American tribes to cultivate and sell recreational marijuana if they choose to do so. The Obama administration has stepped up to try to prevent federal intervention in states that have progressive marijuana policies on the books combined with clear regulations, although, the former head of the DEA didn’t seem to get the memo on that one.
Michele Leonhart ‘resigned’ last month after she was basically forced out of the DEA amid quite a bit of controversy. Obama then picked Chuck Rosenberg to head the DEA. Marijuana activists and supporters have been holding their breath, waiting to see what kind of leader Mr. Rosenberg will be. This week Mr. Rosenberg made some comments that are encouraging. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
The incoming head of the Drug Enforcement Administration reportedly will focus less on marijuana and instead put more resources toward harder drugs such as heroin, which could relieve some pressure on cannabis businesses in states without strong regulations on the industry.
Chuck Rosenberg – who served as chief of staff to the director of the FBI – was named to the DEA’s top spot on an interim basis by newly appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Rosenberg is expected to remain in the position while President Barack Obama is in office, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The new DEA chief will likely improve procedures on how to classify, declassify or reclassify marijuana, and he’ll also place less emphasis on cannabis in general, the Times reported.
These comments need to be taken with a grain of salt of course. The truth is, no one knows how Chuck Rosenberg will handle his new role at the DEA. Only time will tell. He can talk the talk, but can he walk the walk? Will he respect the fact that most Americans want marijuana prohibition to end, both for recreational purposes and medical purposes? Or will he try to inject his own views into the DEA, and continue to go after people that use and sell a substance that is safer than alcohol?