Newly-appointed acting Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenberg, who took over the position following previous DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart’s resignation over a scandal in which subordinate DEA agents were caught participating in sex parties with prostitutes funded by Colombian drug cartels, recently clarified that he supports marijuana’s controversial classification alongside hardcore drugs like heroin as a Schedule I narcotic with no medical use.
In an interview with Rosenberg, Fox News’ James Rosen asked, “Two of the last three presidents of the United States have acknowledged having used marijuana… Isn’t that itself – the fact that here we have two men who used marijuana, in varying degrees, and who then went on to become president of the United States – a kind of a prima facie argument that it is time to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act?”
Rosenberg replied, “Yeah, I don’t think so.” He added, “Marijuana is dangerous. It certainly is not as dangerous as other Schedule I controlled substances; it’s not as dangerous as heroin, clearly, but it’s still dangerous. It’s not good for you. I wouldn’t want my children smoking it. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone do it. So I don’t frankly see a reason to remove it. We, by the way, support, and have supported, a lot of legitimate research on marijuana, fully behind that; I think it’s great. If we come up with a medical use for it, that would be wonderful. But we haven’t.”
Rosen pushed back, “I’ve never seen two guys get thrown out of a bar because they started fist-fighting after smoking a joint. All right? But we’ve seen [that] every Friday and every Saturday night brings just such occasions as a result of the legal distribution of alcohol. Isn’t there some common-sense disparity, or irony, or disconnect in that?”
“Probably, yeah. Right?” said Rosenberg. “So I don’t know that you’re arguing that they’re both good; you may be arguing that they’re both bad. As I said earlier, marijuana is less dangerous – clearly less dangerous – than heroin. It’s easy to draw that line. But I’m not willing to say that it’s good for you, or that it ought to be legalized. I think it’s bad for you and that it ought to remain illegal.”
When Rosen suggested that Rosenberg’s argument could be used to justify banning alcohol, Rosenberg replied, “No, I’m not going to say that. We – we tangled with that as a society in the 1930s. And we know how that went. That’s the law of the land; I get it. I choose not to drink alcohol but I’m not going to impose that on anyone else.”
The new DEA chief said that he has never tried marijuana and that his biggest vice is drinking excessive quantities of diet soda.
Rosenberg pinpointed fighting a rising heroin epidemic as his top priority and admitted that legal pharmaceutical drugs are acting as a gateway drug to heroin abuse.
“There’s an enormous supply of heroin; it’s cheap. In fact, it’s a lot cheaper than prescription pills. If you take oxycodone and hydrocodone for a football injury and you get hooked, you’re going to pay a dollar a milligram on the street for a pill – thirty milligrams, thirty dollars, give or take. Heroin is probably one-fifth the price, and because it has a similar chemical effect, a similar pharmacological reaction, folks make that transition,” he said.
He also pointed out the fact that the black market’s ability to reap profits off of the demand for contraband — which many anti-prohibition advocates argue is a predictable consequence of drug prohibition itself — funds terrorist groups and threatens U.S. national security.
“This is a multi-billion dollar industry. What are the bad guys doing with the money that Americans are paying for drugs? What’s it funding overseas? I’m sure some of it’s going to terrorist organizations; we’ve seen that. And so that worries me quite a bit,” said Rosenberg.
Back in September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode noting that the federal government holds a patent on medical cannabis despite the fact that it classifies the substance as having no medical use. Watch the episode in the below-embedded video player.