After announcing last week that marijuana was "probably not" as dangerous as heroin, the DEA went and huddled up with the team, had a long and arduous meeting with lots of snacks, and returned to the public with a bold stance on marijuana's danger relative to heroin. Today, DEA head honcho Chuck Rosenberg bravely declared that "heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana."
"In other news, the sky is blue," Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for Marijuana Policy Project, told the Huffington Post.
DEA spokesman (and apparently chill bro) Rusty Payne expressed confusion over the hullabaloo surrounding last week's announcement to U.S. News. “The obsession with marijuana that you guys have is sometimes – come on!” Payne said. “Of all the things in the world, that’s what you’re worried about? Come on, dude. Really?”
Payne clearly didn't read this last week, in which I made the point that the "obsession with marijuana" isn't just because people love smoking pot, but because it plays a key role in the mass incarceration of minorities. Again, as Michelle Alexander wrote in The New Jim Crow, “in some states, black men have been admitted to prison on drug charges at rates twenty to fifty times greater than those of white men.”
This might be a good reason to worry about marijuana!
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.