Although a nation of marijuana reform advocates had hoped that former DEA director Michele Leonhart’s successor would be more progressive in his or her approach to the drug war, a recent interview with Chuck Rosenberg, the man now overseeing the DEA’s daily operations, proves that our wishes have not come true.
Last week, while sitting down with Fox News to discuss the heroin epidemic currently sweeping the United States, Rosenberg said that although he doesn’t feel marijuana is as dangerous as heroin, he also doesn’t believe it deserves to be reclassified under the Controlled Substances Act.
“Marijuana is dangerous,” Rosenberg said. “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.”
Rosenberg went on to tell host Jay Rosen that in spite of parts of the country like Colorado and Washington ending prohibition at the state level, he sometimes encourages his people to shake these areas down when necessary.
“I’ve been very clear to my special agents in charge: If you have a big marijuana case, if that, in your jurisdiction, is one of your biggest problems, then bring it,” he said.
Interestingly, when Rosen pointed out that it doesn’t make sense for the U.S. to maintain pot prohibition, while alcohol continues to cause many social problems that typically aren’t attached to the use of marijuana, Rosenberg—who claimed to never have smoked weed—said that he does not believe marijuana legalization is an animal that should be let out of its cage.
“I’m not willing to say that it’s good for you, or that it ought to be legalized,” Rosenberg continued. “I think it’s bad for you and that it ought to remain illegal.”
It is apparent that Rosenberg understands that alcohol prohibition was a failure, explaining to Rosen that the U.S. “tangled with that as a society in the 1930s. And we know how that went.”
Yet, he doesn’t seem to understand that when he said, “I choose not to drink alcohol, but I’m not going to impose that on anyone else,” that his views on cannabis prohibition immediately became ultra-hypocritical.