In 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration kept dodging questions over whether cannabis was really as dangerous as meth and heroin. The previous administrator dodged the questions repeating, “all illegal drugs are bad” eleven times. But new leadership at the DEA looks promising for the battle against cannabis prohibition.
Last Tuesday, Administrator Chuck Rosenberg said on a conference call that he believes that heroin is possibly more dangerous than cannabis, the U.S. News & World Report reported.
“If you want me to say that marijuana’s not dangerous, I’m not going to say that because I think it is,” Rosenberg said. “Do I think it’s as dangerous as heroin? Probably not. I’m not an expert.”
He added: “Let me say it this way: I’d rather be in a car accident going 30 miles an hour than 60 miles an hour, but I’d prefer not to be in a car accident at all.”
The experts have been clear, however, that cannabis should not be classified alongside heroin. One series of studies published in July by the American Medical Association, the nation’s leading medical society, confirmed a slew of medical benefits — which Schedule I drugs must lack — to cannabis. Another study in March estimated that cannabis was 114 times safer than alcohol. Even former Attorney General Eric Holder expressed his support for the need to reevaluate cannabis’s comparative danger to heroin in 2014.
As for whether the DEA will continue to enforce federal cannabis laws, Rosenberg said, “Typically it’s heroin, opioids, meth and cocaine in roughly that order and marijuana tends to come in at the back of the pack.” But, “I’ve also told them we are not going to shy away from doing marijuana cases where appropriate. We want to do the biggest and most important cases there are.”