Jeff Sessions Just Made the Chief of the DEA Look Like a Pot Head's Hero

Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg reportedly resigned in part over the Justice Department's obstruction of marijuana research.


Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg is set to resign. Photo source: DOJ

Around this time last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it would begin accepting applications for a license to cultivate marijuana for research purposes. This was thrilling news for cannabis advocates, as it suggested the DEA was finally open to ending the University of Mississippi's 50-year monopoly on legal marijuana cultivation.

"The DEA just made it easier do research on weed," a Wired headline declared.

A year after that announcement, the DEA has yet to approve a single license application and now acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg is set to resign over differences with the Justice Department. One of those differences? The Justice Department's refusal to let the DEA grant any licenses to grow research marijuana.

"[T]he Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations," an anonymous DEA source told the Washington Post in August of this year. "They're sitting on it," another source said of cultivation applications the DEA sent to the Justice Department for final approval.

When STAT News asked the DEA in July how many licenses it had granted, they got smoke-screened. "The DEA says it does not have a timeline to approve or deny applications and noted that it is dealing with a new review process," STAT's Andrew Joseph reported. "All applicants remain under review and none has been rejected." Now we know it's because Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his people are keeping those applications in regulatory limbo.

In an August 2016 letter to the governors of Rhode Island and Washington, Rosenberg, who will likely be out of his role by the end of the week, wrote that marijuana would only be rescheduled through the FDA's drug approval process, but that the DEA would "continue to work with NIDA to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of marijuana and its derivatives to support legitimate research needs. Part of that support includes "approving additional growers of marijuana to supply researchers."

The Washington Post asked Rosenberg last month if he'd changed his mind on the latter promise. His response: "I stand by what I wrote." That's the closest thing I've seen to Rosenberg publicly pointing the finger at his boss.

In addition to battling over marijuana cultivation licenses, Rosenberg reportedly disagreed with Sessions that MS-13 is a major factor in the American drug trade (Rosenberg is more worried about Mexican cartels). He also condemned President Donald Trump's speech to police officers in Long Island, during which Trump encouraged cops to rough up suspects. "When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon—you just see them thrown in, rough—I said please don't be too nice," Trump told the audience.

"The President, in remarks delivered yesterday in New York, condoned police misconduct regarding the treatment of individuals placed under arrest by law enforcement," Rosenberg wrote in an email to DEA staff.

Rosenberg didn't quit solely over marijuana research, and his support for more heavily controlled cultivation certainly doesn't amount to support for marijuana legalization. But his exit from the DEA gives Sessions a chance to install—via Trump's nomination—someone who won't press the marijuana issue at all.

NEXT: Police Union Complains That Public Got to See Them Roughing Up Utah Nurse

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  1. Don’t fool yourself. Until the DEA shuts its doors, they are the enemy of the Constitution and freedom.

    1. The DEA is an authoritarian nightmare and now we have a DOJ that even gives the DEA pause. Just let that sink in for a minute.

      1. Anonymous DEA sources say so!

        1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

          This is what I do…

  2. MS-13 is a major factor in the American drug trade (Rosenberg is more worried about Mexican cartels).

    I thought MS-13 worked really closely with the cartels. Seems kind of splitting hairs on that disagreement.

  3. My hero……………………………..

  4. “All applicants remain under review”

    “, and of course we cannot comment about ongoing investigations.”

  5. Any story that fits your preconceived notions, eh Riggs?

    From Wikipedia:
    DEA agency executive, Chuck Rosenberg has made negative statements against patients with prescriptions for medical cannabis. Chuck Rosenberg has said that he considers medical cannabis to be a “joke.” As a reaction against the negative statements made by Chuck Rosenberg towards medical cannabis, an international online petition has been formed. More than 159,750 signatures have been gathered worldwide as a means to protest against DEA agency executive, Chuck Rosenberg. The online petition has been formed with the intention that Chuck Rosenberg will be fired or forced to resign as head of DEA. The petition is titled, “Petition – Trump: Fire DEA Head Chuck Rosenberg for Calling Medical Marijuana a “Joke”. The petition to fire Chuck Rosenberg is posted on[6]

    Also, Rosenberg is an Obama appointee. Also, someone who worked closely with Comey in the FBI.

    Do you think he is a non-partisan? So much so that you pen an article based solely on his grandstanding and fail to note any of the background that paints him in a very different light?

    1. an anonymous DEA source

      Riggs is the dumbest “editor” to ever hold a staff position at this rag.

  6. Research is probably perceived as a threat to the drug czars due in part to the belief by many of them that scientific research is a left-wing conspiracy.

    1. So why then did pot busts reach their highest numbers under the Obama admin? Power is power and science is its servant.

      1. Because Obama is a drug czar too. You don’t actually believe the Democrats’ narrative that they support drug rights I hope?

  7. The pretense that anything or anyone can be ‘non-partisan’ is a joke.
    Everything is partisan.
    Knowledge is power – thus science is politics.

  8. Fuck resigning, sabotage.

  9. So I watched that CNN health care debate between Graham/Cassidy and Sanders/Some Bitch and I remember Graham saying something about how we can’t afford to expand Medicare because it would deprive the govt of money and the govt needed that money for all the oh so important things it does. I guess one of those things is terrorizing people who use cannabis. I realize it’s not exactly a libertarian position to whine about not being able to expand Medicare but god damn man that’s where I fall short.

    1. Terrorizing grown adults living their lives in their own homes, not harming anyone others. And I’m confident Sessions is a true believer in this, and thinking that he’s stopping some evil scourge. It’s really the people who put this crusty, obsolete mindset at the helm of the justice dept who are really responsible.

  10. Sessions is more useless than breasts on a boar. And the guy who will probably take his old Senate seat is even worse! What’s wrong with Alabama???

  11. Sessions supports lying to kids about marijuana and other drugs, so of course he’s going to block research about marijuana. He’s a relic of 1980s drug and stranger-danger hysteria, and is far beyond his shelf life in terms of relevance on issues.

    As a matter of fact, Jeff Sessions is one of the worst things, if not the worst thing, about the Trump Admin. The old man may think he’s making good decisions, but someone needs to tap him on the shoulder and ask him to step down before he fully ramps up his free-for-all on civil liberties and ramping up of incarceration rates.

  12. RE: Jeff Sessions Just Made the Chief of the DEA Look Like a Pot Head’s Hero
    Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg reportedly resigned in part over the Justice Department’s obstruction of marijuana research.

    No need for MJ research.
    We all know it leads to using heroin, drinking spoiled milk, hijackings, cancer, hurricanes, and the national debt.

  13. Sessions has been Trump’s biggest mistake. He needs to go.

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