Chuck Rosenberg was supposed to be a different kind of Drug Enforcement Agency leader, someone who could serve as acting administrator for the remainder of President Barack Obama’s time in office without rocking the boat like his embattled predecessor.
Instead, Rosenberg is under siege from activists and lawmakers after calling the use of raw marijuana to treat medical conditions “a joke” earlier this month, and he’s facing a campaign by reformers unseen even by the famously anti-reform Michele Leonhart, who stepped down in May after a sex party scandal.
On Thursday, seven members of Congress â€“ Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., Sam Farr, D-Calif., Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Jim McDermott, D-Wash. â€“ wrote to Obama asking that he fire Rosenberg.
And on Friday, a group of nearly two dozen patients, caregivers and policy advocates visited the DEA’s headquarters in northern Virginia to present boxes stuffed with printouts of an online petition calling for Rosenberg’s ouster. The petition has been signed by more than 100,000 people and was spearheaded by Marijuana Majority leader Tom Angell.
Again, I reiterate, petitions are generally worthless. But what Tom has done here is really quite excellent. He started a petition, and, because he keeps really good relationships with a variety of media folks, he gets articles written about there being a petition, which gets more people to sign it. And because he has also developed relationships with political leaders, they write their own letters, which generates more press. Then he gets the press to cover the deliverance of the petitions, along with sick people who signed them.
And, because I’m on Tom’s press list, I get regular updates from him on the status of the petition, which makes me more likely to write about it. Good organization. Good activism.
Will Rosenberg be fired? Of course not. But that’s not the important thing – what we’ve got is major news outlets treating the DEA as under siege, putting them on the defensive, and giving medical marijuana patients sympathy for being treated “as a joke” by the bad government bureaucrats.