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New Acting DEA Chief Appointed by Justice Department

Maureen Meehan

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New Acting DEA Chief Appointed by Justice Department

The Justice Department announced that it had tapped Robert Patterson, a career investigator, to temporarily lead the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), replacing the now-resigned, previous acting chief, Chuck Rosenberg.

Patterson, considered the highest-ranking special career agent at the DEA, has served as the agency’s principal deputy administrator since November 2016, according to a Justice Department press release.

The release, first reported by Reuters, didn’t mention any particular policy stance that Patterson may have toward cannabis.

New Acting DEA Chief Patterson’s Background

What, therefore, can we glean from his background?

Patterson began his DEA career in the New York division in 1988, where he worked numerous racketeering influenced and corrupt organizations, known as RICO, investigations.

A native of New Jersey, he was part of a special program established to combat the growing opioid epidemic and associated violence in the greater New York area.

Over his nearly 30 years with the DEA, Patterson gained a reputation as an expert on transnational criminal networks, narcotics trafficking and trends, as well as governing policy and agency oversight matters.

Patterson’s new assignment of “acting administrator” is also temporary, as was that of his predecessor Rosenberg.

Will Trump Replace Patterson With A Permanent DEA Leader?

It is still unclear who will be named to permanently lead the DEA.

Trump has yet to put forth a nomination.

In keeping with his chaotic governing style, Trump has made fewer nominations for senior federal positions than the previous four presidents in the same timeframe.

Chuck Rosenberg, who once said, “marijuana is not medicine…it’s a joke,” was a holdover from President Obama’s administration. He left his post on October 1, citing “dismay” with Trump, especially after the tough-guy president told cops “don’t be too nice” to suspects. Let’s just hope we’re not going from the frying pan to the fire. But considering Jeff Sessions’ obsession with shutting down all things cannabis and Trump’s dysfunctional leadership, we’d best pray very hard.

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