DEA Head Says Heroin Is Clearly More Dangerous Than Marijuana

DEA Head Says Heroin Is Clearly More Dangerous Than Marijuana

Washington, DC: Newly appointed Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) administrator Chuck Rosenberg publically acknowledged last week that marijuana is "probably" not as dangerous as heroin and then in a clarifying statement made this week, "heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana."

Rosenberg’s comments appear to be in conflict with marijuana’s Schedule I classification under federal law, which places it in the same category as heroin and in a stricter category than cocaine. Federal law currently 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."

Originally Rosenberg said, "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." But after a week of media covering the DEA Head’s uncertainty, Rosenberg offered a clarified statement at a press briefing saying heroin is "clearly" more dangerous than marijuana.

Rosenberg’s predecessor, Michele Leonhart, refused to acknowledge during direct questioning from Congress that marijuana possesses fewer risks to health than either heroin or methamphetamine.

Commenting on the new DEA administrator’s remarks, NORML Political Director Danielle Keane said, "Rosenberg’s comments, coupled with those by 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."

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at paul@norml.org.