New DEA Leader Suspects Marijuana Is Not As Bad As Heroin

Newly appointed head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Chuck Rosenberg, says that marijuana is “probably” not as dangerous as heroin.

Rosenberg’s comments, issued Tuesday, are seemingly in conflict with marijuana’s Schedule I classification under federal law, which places it in the same category as heroin and is a lesser category than cocaine. The law defines cannabis and its dozens of distinct cannabinoids as possessing “a high potential for abuse … no currently accepted medical use, … [and] a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug … under medical supervision.”

Predictably, Rosenberg did emphasize that he believed cannabis posed potential harms, stating:“If you want me to say that marijuana’s not dangerous, I’m not going to say that because I think it is. Do I think it’s as dangerous as heroin? Probably not. I’m not an expert.”

However, Rosenberg acknowledged that he has asked DEA offices “to focus their efforts and the resources of the DEA on the most important cases in their jurisdictions, and by and large what they are telling [him] is that the most important cases in their jurisdictions are opioids and heroin.”

Rosenberg’s predecessor, Michelle Leonhart vigorously defended marijuana’s Schedule I classification. She oversaw dozens of raids on medical marijuana providers, criticized the President on his remarks of marijuana’s safety in relation to alcohol, and rejected an administrative petition calling for marijuana rescheduling hearings. NORML is pleased that although the new DEA administrator, by his own admission is not “an expert” on cannabis, he apparently possesses a better grasp on marijuana and it’s evident differences compared to other schedule 1 substances.

Rosenberg’s comments, coupled with those of NIDA Director Nora Volkow publically espousing the safety of CBD indicate that it may no longer be a question of if the federal government will move to reclassify cannabis but when.


44 thoughts

  1. “Probably”…LOL! The real joke is that we citizens are paying this person a six-figure salary with bennies.

  2. What a lying puppet.

    “If you want me to say that marijuana’s not dangerous, I’m not going to say that because I think it is. Do I think it’s as dangerous as heroin? Probably not. I’m not an expert.”

    It seems these days that there’s no end to the number of people who will,for a paycheck, say anything. Lying to over 300 million people doesn’t seem to be a point of moral inventory for this kind of sub-human. For most younger people these days it probably sounds like the status quo and is excepted just like the sun coming up, but for older people who have in there life time watched freedom slowly be taken away it is the most infuriating and unforgettable violation of trust that has ever been served to free thinking people. They’re betraying not just people but all of mankind with their behavior. We deserve better and we’re demanding better from them. The voting booth is the greatest weapon of mass destruction that ever existed and we will use it come Election Day.

  3. One more thing. Yes I know he’s not an elected official. So please spare me the insult.

  4. This is still a timid effort to start backing away from from a non scientific position. The real enemy of pot is propaganda from government. They try to play like this is some discovery that was unknown like a new planet or something after they restricted research except for themselves. The fact that in this day and time after years of flat out deceiving the public under the guise of protecting the young we have done the opposite of protecting. Most of you who know this issue well know we have been up against stupidity and out right disrespect from our government. Many states want to continue to use this issue for jobs. The job of arresting our young for profit and jobs is a farce. When you vote know the position on legalization your candidate has and vote accordingly. States like florida and texas would be better off just decriminalized. FLA &TEXAS will regulate it out of existence. Fight propaganda when it shows itself and vote the dinosaurs out of office.

  5. And I suspect a civilized society does not have government agencies dictating what you may or may not consume.

  6. In general, this seems like really good news!

    However, living in Virginia, I am not optimistic that the powers that be here at the State level will legalize it since Republicans outnumber the Democrats. Here in VA, all Republicans voted not to allow decriminalization and all Democrats voted to allow decriminalization.

    My family has decided to move from this Un-American (I consider senseless prohibition and draconian laws to be anti-freedom and thus Anti-American) state somewhere we can live in peace. We are good people that follow the law in all other areas except that we choose to use cannabis. I am terribly tired of fearing law enforcement when I should feel protected by them!

    I wonder why someone who is not a drug expert has been placed into the position Rosenberg now holds. It seems strange but at least he doesn’t seem like the friggin’ nightmare that is Michelle Leonhart! Just looking at her ugly picture gives me goosebumps.

  7. Kinda strange that someone who is the head of a department is not learned about the very thing they are supposed to be lord over….

  8. This is tantamount to a plain old English remove cannabis from the schedule recommendation to Congress. Same goes for NIDA. The acknowledgement about CBDs by Dr. Nora Volkow is the green light for Congress to remove cannabis from the schedule.

    Gov. Christie just doesn’t have the charisma to be president, but feel free to ignore New Jersey by being too busy running for president, please. A Democratic executive and legislature in NJ ought to move legalization forward, you know, having to have done the heavy lifting of waiting out the hindrance, also known as Chris Christie. If loudmouth bullies could only be their own bodyguards would they still go off on people like that?

    Pennsylvania legalized gambling casinos and Jersey’s Atlantic City casinos take a loss, some close up. Hey, I don’t gamble but dang if I would go to Atlantic City for a couple of days to enjoy legal adult recreational.

    If Congress is waiting for a loud and clear letterhead recommendation for cannabis to be removed from the schedule, then the DEA and NIDA heads get together and both sign the letter. Maybe if you sent a box of chocolate with each letter sent to each member of Congress that sugar boost would be enough to get them to do some work and remove cannabis from the schedule.

  9. Well its about time that the dea wake’s up and smell’s the coffee..our country has been run for to long by corporations like tabbaco industries big pharma law enforcement prisons politics just to name a few’ our leaders ..they are all bought and paid for.. its time for a big change in this country..we the people have got to do something ..and the best way we can do that is to vote out the old farts and let the young ones with new idea’s to help change the ways of our country the track we are on now is total destruction ..i have to say it but trump is right..this country needs to be the greatest country once again we can do it just vote out the idiots..someone needs to see where trump is on medical cannabis and doctor has been giving me hydrocodone for pain ..i hate it we really need to keep pushing for cannabis legalization is the safest drug on earth thanks for all the great articles norml /we need a president that will listen to the PEOPLE

  10. “I’m not an expert.” Why not, you’re the head of the flipping DEA. That’s the damn problem! Let’s get someone that is an expert

  11. “Suspects….probably””not as bad as heroin…” Jeez, mighty big of him. I’m sure he’s a good guy and from a good family however, and I suspect his momma is not as bad as a crack whore.

    Looks like we need to shitcan this one too. Just shows how uncompromising the narc side is.

  12. It’s clear the war on cannabis has lost, and momentum for legalization is building.

    As Chris Brown points out in the article, to enforce federal cannabis prohibition according to Chris Christie, federal employees would have to break the law regarding the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment in going after all 40 states that have some sort of medical marijuana laws.

    The sooner the head of the DEA and head of NIDA craft a letter to Congress to remove cannabis from the schedule altogether the better.

  13. Tommy Chong,from the Cheech and Chong movies revealed how the Republicans helped get him convicted for marijuana use ttp://

  14. “I’m not an expert”.

    Aaaand that’s how he got the job.

    What else can you say to that? It’s just, ugh!


  16. Sorry, bad link above.

    Mr. Rosenberg should watch this video to confirm his suspicion:

  17. Not an expert= Not qualified for the job.Head of DEA is completely ignorant. Even school children KNOW heroin is more dangerous. Fire him.

  18. Cannabis Culture

    Theology, Humor and Cannabis test positive for THC.

    Cannabis is God’s medicine for relief of stress, anxiety, depression and living in New Jersey.

    Cannabis is excellent for medication, therapy, meditation and prayer, eliminating the need for multiple visits to the doctor’s office and church. This could be why there is such fierce resistance to its use. My only response is “holy hemp that’s good smoke”, thank you Jesus.

    God gave the herb (Cannabis) for the service of man. Psalm 104:14 Also called the herb bearing seed. Genesis 1:11

    Question is, why was I laughing?
    That smoke was so good I forgot why I was laughing and couldn’t stop, cause I couldn’t remember why I was laughing, which I needed to do in order to stop.

    I finally remembered why I was laughing. I was laughing at these fools who set out to eradicate God’s Cannabis plant from the earth and persecuted those who used it, their folly being exceeded only by their guilt. When it is all over men will mock them and laugh at their utter foolishness, because they were not able to finish what they started and are fit to be eradicated, except they repent and find mercy, cause there is a storm blowing in from eternity called judgement, that will overflow with righteousness and sweep away the refuge of lies. Psalm 53:6-7 Isaiah 28:17

    The most valuable plant on the planet for production of textiles, medicines, food, fuel and other products has been banned as poison and use of it a criminal act. An outrage of epic proportions, a colossal blunder and a blight on human behavior which will not be forgotten, teaching us how to avoid this great evil (prohibition) in the future and judge those wicked men who brought it upon us.

  19. @The Scientist – I watched the video at the link you provided and it is wonderful and insightful! Thank you!

    It is sad that so many of our politicians care little what doctors or scientists have to say unless it supports whatever they already tend to believe. Chris Christie believes marijuana is a gateway drug and refuses to hear anything to the contrary (for example…).

  20. I’m all for reclassification of marijuana from schedule 1 to schedule 3. Letting doctors actually prescribe it to patients. The problem lies in where do doctors/pharmacy get a consistent strain, and who gets to be the supplier of these strains, but most importantly what type of medical marijuana would be prescribed, flower, edibles, or some form of concentrate.

    There are companies in other countries like GW Pharmaceuticals who have multiple compounds derived from marijuana that are showing true promise for a wide variety of different ailments.
    Not to say an American pharmaceutical company could not produce a simular product, but American is at least 15 years behind GW, so do we have to update our trade laws to import these medications from out side the us? There are some complex issues to get past if Americans wish to keep marijuana in the medical field only.

    The logical solution as far as I’m concerned is to reschedule, allow decriminalization for any possession, and update the ATF yo ATFM, and treat marijuana like alcohol and tobacco, meanwhile allowing pharmaceutical companies to develop medications to help sick people. And ensure that employers cannot descriminate against its employees if they so choose to indulge medically or recreationaly.

    It’s almost 2016 people, sensible policy is not unicorn, it can be achieved, by working together something our government, congressman and citizens so desperately need.

  21. There is something to be learned for all future, or current, grassroots movements when it comes to these types of issues.
    When the people organize, despite how disjointed it has been with the dozen pro-marijuana organizations all fighting for a common goal, the feds are forced to listen.
    This win would have come much sooner if the organizations in question would have consolidated their assets. Additionally, NPOs that retain six figure earners, which are predominantly funded by donations and memberships, could have bit the bullet and hired two employees for the price of one.
    Administrators in almost every business, be it government, NPO, or private sector, are a major drain on the overall incoming revenue stream. This hinders the chance for effective usage of available income.
    Off the soap box and more to the topic at hand. He is lying, but at least it is a sign that even the D.E.A. is receiving enough pressure to change its draconian stance that cannabis is worthy of a schedule I classification.
    Progress is progress, regardless of how little it might seem.

  22. It’s not going to happen. That’s the only reason they have a job in the first place. Wake up folks.

  23. Personal experience will help the DEA administrators learn about what they are paid to prohibit.

  24. the first question that comes to mind is that if is running the DEA, why isn’t he an expert?

  25. It’s a real measure of how deep Congress is in their own bull$#!+ when the new DEA director has to come out and say, “Yeah, I’m no expert, but marijuana? Proooobably not as bad as heroin…”

    It’s truly sad that we have to applaud a statement as cynically obvious as heroin being more dangerous just to deschedule marijuana to schedule 2, (the same status as cocaine… Like the kind you make crack from…) when the majority of Americans have already figured out that marijuana has caused zero deaths to any ape or creature in the animal kingdom since our ancestors coevolved with cannabis out of the Himalayan valley more than a million years ago…
    But never mind THAT! An even greater percentage of Americans still remember when Bob Sagat stood up in the movie Half Baked during a meeting for drug addiction and said, quote,
    “…you’re here for MARIJUANA? I sucked d!€k for COKE!”
    (Followed promptly by Dave Chappel):
    “An I SEEN him!”

    And with that noble repertoire, we say, “bring on the debates.”

    Seriously, quit chokin on the 8 ball Chuck and pass the CARERS Act already! Congress can get HIGH if they walk a few blocks down K street! For the love of all that’s GOOD and HOLY why can’t our soldiers with PTSD or our children (who can vaporize varieties that are non-psychoactive) suffering from severe epilepsy?!

    You know what it’s like? Here’s what it’s like; watching children and veterans suffer while a Federal Judge ruled “Congress doesn’t have to be right,” or Congress and executive agencies within our government declare half-witted notions about the safety or medical efficacy of marijuana.. All while the majority of Americans already know the real answer about said “safety” or “efficacy” is like watching the climax of a really bad, slow rendition of Hamlet made up of uneducated non-“expert” actors where everybody is just about to kill eachother at the end and you hope and pray they do so so that the decades-long play is finally going to end the miserable pain you’ve developed in your @$$ when, oh no, what ‘s this? One more miserably bad actor by the name of Chris Christie gets to hear himself vomit up another soliloquy of propaganda– brought to you by some wiseguys still trying to hold on to the shred of hope that there are people still watching Fox news who won’t put down the dumb remote, pick up their “smart”phone and GOOGle the TRUTH about MARIJUANA!!! It’s right THERE in our hands Congress! We can google your lies before you even have a chance to spew them from your twisted little fundraising mouths!

    So let’s let them know, NORML. The spotlight, or should we say, limelight, is now directly on Congress. Click on the Take Action link on the top right corner of this page and let your Congressman know that if we all have to march to Iowa and kick Chuck Grassley in the balls until he holds a hearing on the CARERS Act before Summer vacation we’re prepared to do that. Well, maybe leave out the part about the balls, but let’s keep up the good work and contact our Congressman. The long climax of this long, sad tragedy we call “marihuana” prohibition or however my iPhone spellcheck or the evil Controlled Substances Act wants to spell it… is finally reaching the point of no return. You just heard it from our new political director, Danielle Kean; descheduling cannabis is not a question of “if” but “when.”

  26. It certainly seems reasonable to me to expect someone in his position to be able to competently and accurately answer a question such as the one he was asked. The usual play-dumb equivocation isn’t gonna cut it anymore

    Incidentally, the DEA has really cool badges. I got to see one close up and for real a few months ago. When they finally do shut down the DEA, I hope I can get a hold of one somewhere.

    The guy practically waved the badge in my face. He wanted to get my attention for sure. There’s no real reason for them to be investigating me, although I should show up in their computer system somewhere.

  27. The problem is: we still have the same butt heads running the show! Look at some of their deals! Mitch McConnell 30 yrs’, Chris Smith 34yrs, Hal Rogers 34 years, Robert Byrd 57 yrs, Pat Leahy 40 yrs, John Conyers 50yrs, Charles Rangle 44yrs, just to name a few! Ages some over 80yrs old. Alot of grey in the ranks!!! Wages? Most making 2ht$ a Year. It’s just a job? That’s like having a piggy bank that’s never empty! On top of salaries, PACs, COLA, health insurance, (you can bet it’s better than ours). And all the other perks!!!! This is how it is, just a small amount of info. Go see for yourself. This is how he can get up and say that kind of shit! Why’s he care! He’s got a cushey job. Watch RT on you tube, I get it free on fta satalite. AND IF YOU REALLY THINK THE BABY BOOMERS AREN’T BEHIND LEGALIZATION, YOU,VE GUESSED WRONG. STAY VILIAGENT, QUESTION MORE.

  28. Did you know that we have Joe Biden to thank for the creation of the Drug Czar in the first place?

    He’s as bad or worse than Chris Christie when it comes to marijuana. He would never legalize it. In his mind it would be better to build as many prisons as it takes to lock every last one of us up.

    It’s just incredibly stupid and Nazi-like.

  29. @vickia52 – It is just sad when these old clowns are the ones running the circus…

    As for the baby boomers, every single one that I know supports legalization! Every single one! That said, I only know a small percentage of them, but still, in my mind it shows tremendous support.

    The politicians you mention in your post completely disgust me. Even more disgusting is that they keep getting voted back for more…

    I get really pissed that American voters just can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to these guys… There are a lot of really smart Americans out there, but, there seems to be more that are clearly lacking any real intelligence; the ones that have no idea who they are voting for other than name recognition… Stupid!

  30. Hey look at me, I would never apply for a job that I’m not qualified to do. Maybe Mr. Rosenberg should be let go. Hell they could hire me I know all about marijuana.

  31. I condemn the pothead Chuck Rosenburg of the DEA.
    Chuck, I demand that you get out there right now, and you start telling people that it does not take an expert to recognize that pot IS as bad as heroin if not worse.
    Are you committed to zero tolerance, Chuck? Because we can get someone who is, to do your job.

  32. Right now the current situation can be summed up this way: Most CBD manufacturers get away with selling whatever they say is CBD; parents are left confused and frustrated; and state elected officials with absolutely no background in these issues are hastily putting laws together.

    I found that written on the wall in a location frequented by perverts, anyway, and you could ask what I was doing there, but there you have it.

  33. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (Not to be confused with Republican Senator Chuck Grassley), just endorsed the CARERS Act!

    See what you get for hanging out with Jon Stewart Chuck (…Schumer)…? Maybe that’s what Grassley needs… put him on Jon Stewart’s show before it ends this Thursday. Put him on the spot, make him laugh at his own absurdity and sign the %*$#!ng CARERS ACT ALREADY!!!
    IT”S THE RIGHT THING TO DO CHUCK! …Grassley… Aw $#ck I forgot which Chuck I was talking about… Just do what’s right Congress. Or we’ll find another comedian/satirist like Jon Stewart to wake you up at night! 🙂

  34. Cannabis has slowly gained support over the past few years with most Americans. However there is still strong opposition by most politicians claiming “more research is needed”. I decided to look at just some of the scientific opposition that politicians point out whenever they are pressed on the issue. I came across the deputy director of the National Institution of Drug Addiction(NIDA), Dr. Wilson Compton. Who cowrote an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June of 2014 titled “Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana”.
    Dr. Compton remains unclear as to its harm and depicts the current state of the science related to the adverse health effects of the use of recreational marijuana. Proclaiming that the evidence clearly indicates that long term marijuana use can lead to addiction by citing some statics. Stating a 9% addiction rate increasing to 1 in 6 (16.6%) for those who start using as teenagers and 25%-50% among daily users.
    They claim that these individuals met the criteria for dependence according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM).
    The DSM business brings in millions of dollars each year and has itself come under scrutiny. Most recently by Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of National Institute of Mental Health stating it lacked validity and reliability. Additionally the article goes on by recognizing of a “bona fide cannabis withdrawal syndrome” with symptoms that include irritability, sleeping difficulties, dysphoria, craving, and anxiety.
    The article doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the future of recreational cannabis. However, there is no mention of any prior condition of these “users” or if they were just using cannabis to assist with some of those conditions. Many of these conditions are common place in are society. Just sit on the New Jersey turnpike for a few hours after a ten hour day in a minimum wage job. Irritability, sleep difficulty, and anxiety are just a part of life for many dare I say most of our citizens. This article completely disregards the positive effects of a naturally occurring flower.
    Let’s take a quick look at the current acceptable methodology of treatment for these conditions in the U.S. Today. Antidepressants are the third largest commonly prescribed medication in the U.S. As of 2008, we have seen a 400% increase of people using these medications then is was between 1997 and 2005.
    Sleeping medications are used by nearly 9 million Americans and are responsible for 42,000 cases of overdoses in 2010. That’s almost 100% increase from 2005 at 22,000 cases and those are only the people who were prescribed sleeping aids. The study omitted case where overdose cases of people who did not have a prescription. The CDC reports just over 38,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2010. 22,134 of those deaths were from prescription drugs. That’s roughly 60% of all overdose deaths. More than cocaine, herion and methamphetamine combined.
    According the authors offline this article Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Dr. Ruben D. Baler, Susan R.B Weiss and of course Deputy Director Dr. Wilson M. Compton the regular use of marijuana during adolescence is of particular concern. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Teens who abuse prescription drugs are between twelve to twenty times more likely to use heroin, cocaine and ecstasy. The worst part about that is that based on the numbers it would be less deadly then abusing prescription drugs.
    As to your concerns Dr. Compton, it’s quite clear that your views on cannabis are not only wrong but deadly. If people were allowed to treat themselves on some of these very common problems with cannabis instead of prescription drug, it would save lives.

  35. Lets hope the DEA leader is not working under a president MARCO RUBIO as he does not favor legalization and wants federal laws enforced. He stated this on MEET THE PRESS aug 9. I know how I am going to use my vote in 2016.

  36. Not an expert yet heads the DEA .. It shows the total ..and I mean total ignorance of the Agencies head .. I wonder if by comparison this idiot thinks Oxycontin is as bad as heroin . Just the idea that Pot is scheduled alongside heroin at all is itself a gross misrepresentation of weed . Yet the really sad part is our Government at represented by this uninformed DEA head buys into the lie..Hook line and sinker .. Because the Pharmaceutical corporations tell them to .. This has been policy since ..Richard Nixon another all American idiot, but the decades long hit parade of disinformation rolls on into the next century .. Like a 59 Chevy clunker rusted beaten in dire need of repair and or replacement Agencies like the DEA and others just put out there the SAME OLD SAME OLD .. and quantify it by a moronic blanket statement like ” I’m not an expert”
    If you are not an expert on the subject of drugs and you run the DEA I would say you are grossly UNDER QUALIFIED for the job which you hold .. Perhaps other employment would be better ..Perhaps security guard at a Amusement park or something along those lines ..

  37. An article addressing DEA’s New Leader Suspects that Marijuana is Not as Bad as Heroin, authored by Frank T. Luciano, Esq. Mr. Luciano has represented numerous clients in criminal cases for over thirty years.

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