This is bureaucratic turf defense dressed up as public policy, as it almost always is. And in this case the head of the DEA Chuck Rosenberg is doing particular harm. Because the head of the DEA knows that the trend toward legalization of cannabis threatens his agency, he continues a defense which most people know at this point is just false. (He probably knows it’s false.) Of course cannabis has medical applications. From epilepsy, to cancer, to wasting disease, to pain management, pot makes the lives of many people much better. And this without the massive impact of heavier perception drugs which often create physical dependence while expanding the bottom lines of drug manufacturers (and drug law enforcement agencies).
Medical marijuana is no joke. It is an important health management tool for many people.*
Chuck Rosenberg, chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said that smoking marijuana should not be considered medical treatment on Wednesday, calling the notion a “joke.”
“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal—because it’s not,” Rosenberg said in a briefing to reporters, according to CBS. “We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don’t call it medicine—that is a joke.”
Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Four states — Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska — have opted to legalize the drug for recreational and medical use.
*And yes many “medical” pot users are not sick. This is absolutely true. But to say that medical cannabis is a joke – particularly that the head of the DEA said it – is just not right. (In multiple ways.)