The acting head of the Drug Enforcement Agency Chuck Rosenberg announced his intent to resign yesterday, citing concerns that President Donald Trump holds little respect for the law, the New York Times reports.
Mr. Rosenberg was originally appointed by President Barack Obama following the 2015 resignation of former DEA Chief Michele Leonhart. Though he was never friendly towards the cannabis movement, Mr. Rosenburg was at least able to recognize that the plant was less dangerous than other Schedule 1 substances and he has consistently called for more research into marijuana’s medicinal properties.
Before becoming head of the DEA, Mr. Rosenberg served twice as chief of staff for former FBI director James Comey, who was fired earlier this year by the president in what has become one of the Trump Administration’s most haunting scandals.
Mr. Rosenberg had reportedly grown disillusioned with the president, and when Mr. Trump told a group of New York law enforcement officers to “please don’t be too nice” when handling suspected criminals, the acting DEA head issued an internal memo rejecting the president’s rhetoric.
“We must earn and keep the public trust and continue to hold ourselves to the very highest standards,” Mr. Rosenberg wrote in the internal DEA message. “Ours is an honorable profession and, so, we will always act honorably.”
Though he was no ally to cannabis, Mr. Rosenberg’s departure could still spell bad news for the cannabis industry and legalization movement.
“Rosenberg’s chosen successor could have a major impact on the industry, which will be waiting with bated breath to learn the identity of his replacement and his or her stance on cannabis,” wrote Jeffrey M. Zucker, the president of cannabis business strategy firm Green Lion Partners. “It’s a prudent time to appoint someone who acknowledges scientific facts and understands the damages and vast impact of the Drug War and why it isn’t working.”
“If anything, the uncertainty surrounding [Rosenberg’s] resignation demonstrates the continued need for Congress to act on the sensible legislation that has been introduced by members of both parties, including legislation that would require the federal government to respect states’ rights,” wrote Bryan Meltzer, a partner at New York City law firm Feuerstein Kulick.
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