As many have been fighting for the legalization of marijuana in all states of the U.S., they may get a boost in their fight, as the DEA has stated now that they are going to be backing off of a focus on marijuana. So far few states have completely legalized the drug, including Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and D.C., with Texas recently passing to decriminalize marijuana. As many states continue to avoid legalization, it seems that events just keep pushing for it. As marijuana is considered to not specifically harm users, and most believe that the drug should be treated just like alcohol, many are still wondering why states have not just thrown in the towel on their fight against it.
Chuck Rosenberg is the new incoming DEA chief, after Michele Leonhart resigned following DEA accusations of involvement with drugs and prostitution. With a new man coming into the game, the DEA will certainly be facing some changes. Rosenberg states that one of these changes is that the DEA will no longer be focusing on marijuana, especially as states are lowering their penalties against use and possession of the drug.
Rosenber believes that as chief, he needs to reclassify drugs, and money could be better spent sending out agents with a focus on heroin, cocaine, and psychedelic drugs. He states that the focus of the DEA will be on the other more dangerous drugs, especially as his views are different than that of former chief Leonhart’s on weed. Leonhart, according to sources, believed that marijuana was a dangerous drug and that it offered no value, medically or otherwise.
However, states that have legalized marijuana for use by residents would say otherwise. Not only have researchers worked to prove that the drug has medical benefits, they also have well reaped the monetary benefits. States that have legalized sales of the drug are bringing in millions in tax dollars. D.C. is the only place that has legalized that does not see this reward, as they only legalized the personal growing and intake of weed, but did not set up their own dispensaries, or legalize public sales.
This measure will give a boost to the marijuana industry and to the fight for legalization, as with the DEA backing off of criminalizing those who use the drug, states may see that even some government organizations believe there is no harm in it. Though the recent statements made about the DEA alone are not enough to persuade states to go through with legalization, the recent move by a committee of the Senate may also help in the matter. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bill last week that would allow doctors to prescribe and recommend use, medically, without repercussions.
The “yes” vote affects veterans, and will now prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from interfering in or criminalizing doctors prescriptions of medical marijuana to veterans. One of the most surprising turns is that one Democrat, Dianne Feinstein voted yes on the bill, when she has voted no for everything related to it in the past. Those who fight for legalization of the drug are hoping that this means that Senators are starting to be more lenient toward use.
Though this hardly means that marijuana use will be legal for anyone, in any state, it is a big boost in the fight for legalization, which will see the DEA backing off of pursuing criminalization of the drug, and will possibly start seeing the Senate passing more drug reforms for weed. According to sources, the Senate passed five reforms last year in 2014 that affected laws on weed. As more events seem to take place regarding a more lenient view of marijuana by the government, perhaps state officials will soon begin to feel the same way.
Opinion by Crystal Boulware
The Free Thought Project: New DEA Chief Retreats On War Against Weed, Says DEA Will No Longer Focus On Marijuana
SF Gate: A surprising ‘yes’ vote from DiFi on medical marijuana use