Earl Blumenauer Leads Bipartisan Charge to Fire DEA Chief


Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) was the first elected official when he (rightly) called for the removal of DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg on the House floor, but he certainly wasn’t the last. True to his history, Rep. Blumenauer not only has demonstrated great leadership, but also the ability to garner bipartisan support for sensible reform as Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican representing Orange County, California, signed onto a letter calling for the removal of the head of the DEA.

Rosenberg started receiving calls for his removal after he insultingly called medical marijuana a “joke” to reporters last week. The Huffington Post reported:

“Rosenberg is clearly not the right fit for the DEA in this administration,” Blumenauer said during a speech on the House floor Wednesday morning.


“What is a joke is the job Rosenberg is doing as acting DEA administrator,” he said. “He’s an example of the inept, misinformed zealot who has mismanaged America’s failed policy of marijuana prohibition.”

He continued: “Rosenberg’s claim that more research is necessary is true, but it reeks of hypocrisy because the DEA under his leadership has made badly needed cannabis research difficult, often impossible.”

A groundswell of support for the firing of Chuck Rosenberg has been generated through the efforts of Marijuana Majority, whose petition calling for his removal has earned more than 100,000 signatures delivered to the DEA’s headquarters today. Representative Blumenauer and his colleagues are adding tremendous momentum for the effort to dismiss Rosenberg and to the notion that there should be consequences for government officials, especially those engaged in drug policy, that demonstrate sheer ignorance regarding cannabis.

The Washington Post covered the release of the letter and how this isn’t the first time that Rosenberg stuck his foot in his mouth over marijuana:

Rosenberg’s statements are “indicative of a throwback ideology rooted in a failed War on Drugs,” the letter, spearheaded by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D.-Or.), begins. “They do not reflect the overwhelming body of testimonial evidence, reforms happening across the country at the state level and in Congress, or the opinion of the American people.”

Rosenberg became the acting administrator of the DEA just six months ago, after public and Congressional outcry over a series of scandals under the leadership of then-Administrator Michele Leonhart. Marijuana advocates had hoped that Rosenberg’s appointment would signal a change in tone at the DEA, particularly on marijuana issues. Instead, Rosenberg’s tenure has become notable for how quickly advocates and lawmakers have soured on his leadership.

Earlier this summer Rosenberg remarked that marijuana was “probably not” as dangerous as heroin. Given that there’s overwhelming agreement among researcherslawmakers and the public that marijuana is not, in fact, as dangerous as harder drugs, the statement provoked ridicule and prompted Rosenberg to say definitively a few days later that heroin is indeed more dangerous than pot.

I have stated so many times how proud I am of Congressman Blumenauer and how thankful I am that I get to cast my vote for such a tremendous public servant. He has the right position on cannabis and he is very practical and knowledgeable about how politics work and effective ways to increase support for his positions. We wouldn’t be where we are in Oregon, in Congress or in the national debate without the work of Congressman Blumenauer. I don’t necessarily agree with my representative on every single issue, but I know that I can count on him to do his homework and vote his conscious; it helps that his conscious is on the right side of history on the major civil rights and social justice issues of the day. Here’s hoping that President Obama will continue his moves toward sensible drug policy reform and adhere to his promise to place science over politics.

Watch Congressman Earl Blumenauer call for DEA head’s firing on the floor of the House of Representatives:

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.