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DEA Head Chuck Rosenberg Steps Down and Robert Patterson Takes Over

Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, resigned on Oct. 1. “I will continue to root for you now from the sidelines,” he told his staff.

Both the Washington Post  and the New York Times reported that Rosenberg had turned down serving as the DEA’s permanent head. He had disagreed with the Trump administration on several issues. In July, after Trump told police that they shouldn’t be “too nice” when throwing criminal suspects into paddy wagons, Rosenberg sent DEA staff an email saying that the President had “condoned police misconduct.” He had also served as chief of staff to FBI director James Comey, who Trump fired in May.

Rosenberg also found himself at odds with Attorney General Jeff Sessions over medical-marijuana research. The DEA announced in August 2016 that it would accept applications from cultivators to grow cannabis for research, intending to expand the supply beyond what is grown at the federal farm at the University of Mississippi in Oxford—the sole source for nearly five decades. But the Justice Department has not taken action on the about 25 applications submitted so far.

«The Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations,» an unnamed DEA official told told the Washington Post in August.

Rosenberg was appointed in 2015 by President Barack Obama to replace embattled DEA administrator Michele Leonhart. He got off to a rough start when he called medical marijuana “a joke,” contending that “smoking the leaf of marijuana has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine.”

At press time, various news outlets reported that New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Joseph R. Fuentes was among the contenders to replace Rosenberg. Fuentes made Trump an honorary state trooper during a private meeting at the White House Sept. 19, giving him an unassigned badge. The move was supposed to honor the President for his support of law enforcement, but some troopers who asked to remain anonymous told New Jersey Advance Media they felt it was inappropriate to give a badge to someone who never graduated from the police academy.

Other possible replacements include Robert Charles, formerly assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs; Marshall Fisher, head of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety; and Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Saunders.

Update: The DEA’s deputy administrator Robert Patterson has been named the agency’s acting administrator. He’s been with the DEA since 1988.


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