Rep. Blumenauer Calls for Firing of DEA Director

Nov 18, 2015 , , , , , ,

Recently, we shared a story about interim DEA head Chuck Rosenberg referring to medical marijuana as a “joke.” Since then, a petition started by Marijuana Majority calling for Rosenberg to be fired for his lack of compassion for patients and poor understanding of marijuana has garnered almost 100,000 signatures!

Today, Rep. Earl Blumenaur (D-OR), who has been a champion of marijuana policy reform at the federal level, called on Congress to demand that Rosenberg be replaced!

You can watch the coverage from C-SPAN.

14 responses to “Rep. Blumenauer Calls for Firing of DEA Director”

  1. The DEA needs to be investigated for legal/scientific fraud causing countless wrongful convictions.

    How to PREVENT YOUR WRONGFUL DRUG CONVICTION is illustrated in the real life story of T. Allen Miller, production manager of Safariland, the nation’s largest manufacturer of field tests. In 2012, Miller emailed me that these tests were all but infallible in positively identifying illegal drugs, 99% accurate.

    Simple science tells one that no forensic test is infallible, and many scientific articles and experiments have documented that these tests are highly fallible and render false positives. In one such experimental study conducted by myself and Dr. Omar Bagasra, we found one field test that rendered false positives for marijuana, 70% of the time.

    As proof of his assertion, Miller sent me an undated 2-page note by then-Philadelphia police captain Alan Rothberg which claimed that Safariland’s tests for marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine were 99+% accurate. “With well over 100,000 field tests done to date, the accuracy has never dropped under 99+%,” wrote Rothberg who added that they found no false positives.

    Again, simple science tells us that Rothberg’s claims are scientifically unbelievable. Unpublished scientific assertions are not valid science especially in this case where his assertions fly in the face of scientific and legal studies as well as court decisions.

    The DEA which is involved in some 60,000 cases a year also claims infallibility, not just 99%+, with its tests as well as its analysts. On April 9, 1999, DEA lab director Joseph Bono testified that all the DEA’s tests are “incapable of producing a false positive.” On June 7, 2006, DEA lab director Richard Fox testified that: “Neither the analyst in this case, nor any other DEA analyst, has ever misidentified marijuana.” On February 26, 2010, senior DEA chemist Heather Hartshorn testified that her testing as well as the DEA’s marijuana tests were error-free. On September 17, 2010, DEA lab director James V. Malone testified that: “On my knowledge of the operations of the laboratory. We have not misidentified anything.”

    Malone has also admitted in a sworn affidavit that DEA labs have no protocols, standardized testing, proficiency testing, quality control/quality assurance, or validation of its tests and does not allow outside scientists into their labs to observe and check their testing.

    On March 12, 2012, DEA public affairs officer Lawrence Payne was asked whether the DEA ascribes to infallibility. He responded that: Our court testimony will speak for itself. The DEA has never provided any data supporting infallibility. This means that all DEA drug evidence since at least 1999 has been false and led to tens of thousands of wrongful convictions.

    On March 12, 2012, DEA public affairs officer Lawrence Payne was asked whether the DEA ascribes to infallibility. He responded that: Our court testimony will speak for itself. The DEA has never provided any data supporting infallibility. This means that all DEA drug evidence since at least 1999 has been false and led to tens of thousands of wrongful convictions.

    Ultimately, T. Allen Miller came clean and emailed me the following when I asked him why his company did not publicize that their tests were infallible.

    “That is a good question. But the reason stems from the basic fact that the tests are presumptive in nature and that they are only colorimetric tests. . . Since illicit drugs are nothing more that compounds,. . . the tests have the opportunity to react with any chemical that possess the same reactive characteristics as the illicit ones. . . Users of our kits and our competitors run into stuff that may mimic or duplicate a positive reaction all the time. . . . Colorimetric tests should be the last item to be checked off the probable cause list, not the first, second or even third. There are plenty of instances that can be found where colorimetric tests were used to wrongly detain a “suspect” only to have the compound or substance test negative in the laboratory.”

    Using Miller’s simple scientific information and other information in my book, I was able to force Safariland to award Michael Sullivan hundreds of thousands of dollars for his wrongful imprisonment based on Safariland’s tests. Thus my book, Prevent Your Wrongful Drug Conviction With Simple Science, can serve to prevent wrongful convictions as well as obtain compensation for wrongful convictions.

  2. It’s about time. Frankly, there is no question as to the medicinal capability of Marijuana, but there is obvious a moral position that people tend to adhere to vehemently. However, to justify your moral position by ignoring fact really accomplishes nothing other than making the speaker look ignorant. It doesn’t gain ground for either side.

    I hope that none of the folks trying to stifle medical marijuana find themselves with a grave disease that would benefit from medicinal marijuana, but certainly learn compassion for those that do find the relief provided by a naturally occurring plant. Yes, news alert, at the end of the day it is just a plant.

    But unfortunately, it doesn’t lend itself in its natural state to be patented, and that has the implicit byproduct of not being controllable by Big Pharma. I’m not sure the lobbyists could allow that.

    One final thought: As quickly as you can dismiss Marijuana as “evil”, isn’t it equally possible that God created it with everything else, in order to help our bodies heal? After all, why else would there be receptors in our brain, actually a whole system of receptors, that respond only to Marijuana chemical structures?

    Just allow yourselves to think about that please. My wife (she has been an MS patient for 29 years now) and countless others are relying on your compassion and humanity to do the right thing, and provide access to all forms of remedies to alleviate the horrific symptoms of these diseases.

    Thank you.

  3. With the latest research showing so many medicinal uses for cannabis, why is someone this uninformed even hold a national position. We need progressive thinking in government today, not someone that will continue to promote the past political bigotry that has existed for seventy years. People like this is why we don’t get anything done for the betterment of the public they represent. Let’s move forward, not backward.

  4. Mr. Rosenberg’s attitude is very nonprofessional. Millions of veterans with PTSD benefit from medical marijuana as do a lot of other people with various medical conditions. I would feel much better having him removed and replaced with someone with more compassion and a medical background. These decision should be made based on science not politics.

  5. Seems to me the only way we can get Mr Rosenberg and others against legalizing medical marijuana is to have someone they love to have a diagnosis and a terminal illness hit someone they love or themselves then they will change their mind. Our situation was the chemo and radiation for my sisters cancer made her so nauseated and made he weak to the point that she could not eat or drink during her treatments and she was going downhill fast and was in and out of the veterans hospital where nothing the Doctors did would help her to eat and drink to keep up her strength and build her immunity system. I finally found a friend that wanted to help her and he brought her marijuana every day. She then started to just feel better then she started wanting to eat and drink water and she did not get nauseated. Very Soon she was able to have the hope and strength to fight the cancer, she knew she now had a chance as long as she kept her nutrition every day. I saw a big difference in her attitude as well. She continued treatments and finally her lab work and CT’s were showing promise of recovery. God spoke to her as well and she then knew she had even a better chance of survival. She is now 3 years in remission, feels very blessed, no longer using the medical marijuana and is living each day to the fullness with gratituity and feeling blessed! The person that supplied her with marijuana does not live in TX anymore and I am worried if the cancer should return what are we going to do since our own people in the Whitehouse will not give us the peace of mind that the medical marijuana will be available for her should the cancer return. She would be considered a criminal if we are able to find the marijuana for her and she is a Veteran! Served our country for 16 years! She just wants to beat cancer, not break the law! The combination of treatments saved her life as well as with Gods promise to her but it all begins with whether a cancer patient is able to get nourishment without feeling sicker from eating……she just stopped her nourishment until she was able to see if the marijuana would help her! Our veterans should be priority when it comes to major illness and depression but the White House would rather they suffer and die, they will not care until it happens to themselves or someone they love and I pray what I have said will encourage our leaders to support the medical marijuana for our Veterans. I hope other Veterans would share their experiences with everyone if they have had success with medical marijuana. I pray big time Pharmeceuticals will have a heart and not interfere in the process of having medical marijuana legalized to our Veterans because I know the legalization would be much more beneficial to our troops as they come home injured from the services they provide around the world
    to keep us all safe! May God Bless all of our Veterans, our Troops and their families.

  6. I say let him have 11 surgeries and have to take high doses of opiates for 20yrs and never be able to drive ever again like me or even better let him live with out meds and he would kill himself or go where he could get pot


    John Kelly

    The DEA has ‘’identified” more than identified over 400 new designer drugs in the United States” while admitting that ”many of the designer drugs being marketed today that were seized as part of Project Synergy are not specifically prohibited in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act of 1986 (AEA) allows many of these drugs to be treated as controlled substances if they are proven to be chemically and/or pharmacologically similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance.”

    The DEA has never provided or published any proof that designer synthetic drugs are chemically or pharmacologicallyl similar to illegal controlled substances. In a recent court case, the DEA refused to provide such proof even when ordered to do so by the court. Heather Harris, who was the defense expert in the case and is one of the top forensic chemists in the country, specializing in controlled substances, has written that: ”DEA can add whatever it wants to the controlled substance schedules as long as they follow the rulemaking process. Are they deeming non-controlled substances as analogues without proof? Sure, but this information is not available to the public. It is not even really available to defendants.”

    According to the DEA: ” Synthetic cannabinoids represent the most significant class of designer synthetic drugs. According to the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS), substances identified as synthetic cannabinoids by federal, state, and local forensic laboratories increased from 23 reports in 2009 to 32,784 reports in 2013; to 37,500 reports in 2014.”

    In other words, thanks to a DEA ipse dixit, replete with anectdotal horror stories, reminiscent of Reefer Madness, there are now an additional 30,000+ marijuana convictions a year in the U.S., and the DEA’s sky’s the limit.

    On April 26, 2012, Mahir Silmi and Mohammed Salem were indicted for trafficking and possession of Controlled Substances Analogues in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and their attorney sought to exclude the lab reports as based purely on subjective observations.

    Judge John Russo agreed and excluded the lab reports. He ruled that: ”Looking at the theory, this Court finds no objective, reliable test in the current testing of potential analogs by the CCRFSL (Cuyahoga County Regional Forensic Science Laboratory). The vague and undefined term of ‘substantially similar’ left the CCRFSL to devise an unguided subjective testing procedure. . . .

    ”Both of the State’s witnesses, Mr. Boggs and Mr. Sran, admit the CCRFSL test is a subjective test. Paul Boggs explained the subjective nature of their lab’s testing of potential analogs, describing ‘[I]t is based on something. I t is just not based on something the way we would like it to be based on.’ There is no statewide or nationwide resource or protocol for this lab to draw from and no formal organization or guidance regarding the testing of potential analogs. This leads the Court to the conclusion the current testing of the CCRFSL is not objective or derived from well-known facts and principles. It has never been formally peer-reviewed and no error rate has ever been determined. . .

    ”The theory of ‘substantially similar’ is too vague to be properly implemented. The lab has been left guessing if it is doing the right thing because there is no definition provide to it by any Federal or local government agency as to what ‘substantially similar’ means. CCRFSL was left to develop a test they hoped met this vague standard with no definition. .

    ”. . . it is hard to determine what would be an accurate result when there has been no peer review, no error rates determined, and no real comparison or common protocol even between counties in Ohio. This Court has no way to determine if there is general acceptance to this methodology because it has never been compared to any other lab’s methodology.”

    Regarding the acceptability of controlled substance analogs evidence, the DEA is worse than the Cuyahoga County Regional Forensic Science Laboratory The DEA maintains no database, protocols, or any formal organization or mechanism of standardization regarding the testing of potential analogs. The DEA has not tested or validated its method; published no peer-review studies or error rates; and, has not shown general acceptance of its method in the scientific community. The DEA does not even have protocols, the bread-and-butter of any lab.

    According to DEA lab director, James V. Malone:”The Mid-Atlantic Laboratory does not allow non-law enforcement visitors and has no established protocols, security personnel, or escort procedures in place. The Mid-Atlantic Laboratory also does not have observation rooms where outside personnel can view analysis. . .

    ”DEA’s Standard Operating Procedures do not provide substantial information regarding what procedures a. chemist must follow in order to test a particular controlled substance. The DEA does not have such guidance set forth in one particular document type or “protocol” that would provide instruction on how one is to test cocaine or marijuana.”

  8. I am happy to provide all references to my three comments and well as answer any Questions.
    John Kelly

    From Heather Harris, leading defense attorney and forensic chemist for controlled substances

    “The identification of new synthetics is based on confirmatory testing.
    However, that doesn’t solve all the problems.

    Many of the compounds are practically the same making them difficult
    (and sometimes impossible) to distinguish on the usual instrumental
    testing. Also, acquiring standards for a proper identification can also
    be a challenge.

    This is a new frontier in forensic drug chemistry and it is more complex
    and challenging than what most drug chemists are prepared for.”

    In 1999, Bono claimed in a sworn affidavit that all DEA tests, including the Duquenois-Levine (D-L), thin layer chromatography (TLC), and microscopic visualization, were “incapable of producing a false positive. In other words, even if the test results are inaccurate, the results will not indicate the presence of a controlled substance when none is present in the unknown sample… Even if the instruments used in the testing are not properly calibrated, if no controlled substance is present in the exhibit, then no controlled substance will be identified… even when an instrument is not functioning properly, it will not identify cocaine, or any other controlled substance as being present in a sample, unless that controlled substance is actually present.” (Declaration of Joseph P. Bono, Lab Director/DEA Mid-Atlantic Laboratory, April 9,1999, Washington, D.C. pp. 3-4 See Chapter 1.)

    Bono also subscribes to infallibility. He recently wrote that: “There is a difference between arguing that a method is infallible, which is almost always erroneous. . . It is not necessary or perhaps even scientifically defensible to testify to absolutes in the results of examinations.” (Emphasis added.) (Joseph Bono, Commentary on the Need for a Research Culture in the Forensic Sciences, 58 UCLA Law Review 781 (2011) pp784-785)

    If you had known these facts, would you have invited Bono to testify before the committee?

    Do you think Bono was ethically/scientifically bound to reveal these facts when he was invited to be a witness?

    Since its inception in 1972, no DEA analyst, including Bono, has ever presented or approximated an error rate for any drug tests in their reports or testimonies In fact, Bono has written that there is no scientific need to concern oneself with determining error rate. “In my opinion, there is little substance in a discussion of a generalized error rate as applied to any forensic science discipline (as opposed to whether there was error in a particular case),” he wrote. “The question should not be whether an error could have occurred in a particular analysis, but rather whether an error in fact occurred in the analysis under discussion. . . discerning when and why errors occur is more important than attempting to quantify how often errors occur. There is also the question of whether quantifying an error rate will truly enhance any science. . .” (Emphasis added.) (Joseph Bono, Commentary on the Need for a Research Culture in the Forensic Sciences, 58 UCLA Law Review 781 (2011), p. 785)

    (Probably a Black kid since the case was in D.C.)
    “I did have a case recently plea that was an analog prosecution and the
    > gov’t never revealed which scheduled compound they were using for the
    > analog comparison. I told the attorney repeatedly that this should be
    > challenged b/c it is ludicrous to charge and prosecute someone and never
    > reveal the elements of the offense. However, this was a juvenile and he
    > needed finality more than justice I guess.”
    > It was a really sad case for this kid. He worked as a clerk in the head
    > shop that was selling massive amounts of bath salts. He got swept up in
    > the sting, charged with conspiracy and branded a felonious drug offender
    > for the rest of his life. All for a minimum wage job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *