New DEA Chief Revises Statement on Cannabis vs. Heroin

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The new head of the Drug Enforcement Administration made waves in cannabis circles last week when he said marijuana is “probably” not as bad as heroin, indicating that there might be some doubt about the issue.

This week, however, DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg clarified his position, saying unequivocally that “heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana.”

Rosenberg, who was installed after former DEA chief Michele Leonhart resigned in May, said that he should have cleared up his stance last week when discussing cannabis, the Huffington Post reported. He added that he believes marijuana is still “harmful and dangerous,” but not nearly as much as heroin.

DEA agents should also focus on “the most important cases in their jurisdictions,” Rosenberg said, which usually have to do with “heroin, opioids, meth and cocaine, in roughly that order, and marijuana tends to come in at the back of the pack.”

Rosenberg’s stance is becoming the norm in Washington DC, where high-profile politicians of all stripes are advocating for a change in drug enforcement priorities – if not straight-out reforms when it comes to cannabis.

His latest comments also serve as another sign that officials are starting to view marijuana slightly differently than other drugs the government has traditionally considered extremely dangerous.