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DEA chief, medical marijuana, Elgin drug crimes defense attorneyThe acting head of the federal agency tasked with enforcing the nation’s laws against illicit drug use is under attack after comments he made to reporters last week regarding the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Chuck Rosenberg ignited a major controversy in a briefing that coincided with the release of the 2015 Drug Threat Assessment Summary, which showed an increase in illegal drug use for most substances, with the exception of cocaine. The report also observes that the use of marijuana is still technically illegal under federal law, despite decriminalization and medical marijuana legislation being passed in various states.

No Joking Matter

In his statements, Rosenberg took offense to the idea that marijuana could be medicinal, "because it’s not," he said. "We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don’t call it medicine—that is a joke."

As news of Rosenberg’s remarks went public, offended citizens around the country responded. A change.org petition was quickly launched calling for the acting DEA chief’s resignation or for President Obama to relieve Rosenberg of his duties. To date, the petition has garnered more than 37,000 electronic signatures.

Scientific Indications

Proponents of medical marijuana consistently point to research that suggests that marijuana does have medicinal properties for a number of conditions. In particular, an analysis of nearly 80 medical marijuana studies, including more than 6,000 patients, was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this year, finding "moderate-quality evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain and spasticity." A growing number of medical professionals, including the American Medical Association, reject the federal government’s continued inclusion of marijuana on the Schedule 1 list of controlled substance, which indicates that there is "no currently accepted medical use."

Spin Control

A DEA spokesperson, in an emailed statement, attempted to clarify Rosenberg’s comments. The spokesman stated that acting Administrator Rosenberg meant that if marijuana was to be considered a medicine, it should be subject to the same protocols—i.e. FDA approval—as other drugs and pharmaceuticals.

Medical Marijuana in Illinois

The controversy, as luck would have it, has made national headlines at the same time that the medical marijuana program in Illinois finally gets underway. Earlier this week, six approved dispensaries opened their doors to registered, qualified patients for the first time, more than two years after the legislation outlining the program was passed. Its impact on the state remains to be seen, but, surely, state officials and federal regulators will be keeping a close eye on its progress.

If you have been charged with any type of marijuana-related offense, you need the help of an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney. Contact the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule an appointment and get the reliable, affordable legal representation you need to protect your future.

Sources:

http://time.com/4107603/dea-medical-marijuana-joke-2/

http://www.dea.gov/docs/2015%20NDTA%20Report.pdf

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/10/the-dea-chief-called-medical-marijuana-a-joke-now-patients-are-calling-for-his-resignation/

https://www.change.org/p/obama-fire-dea-head-for-calling-medical-marijuana-a-joke

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-illinois-medical-marijuana-first-day-met-20151108-story.html

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