Acting DEA Chief Robert Patterson Steps Down

Patterson showed that his time at the DEA (before becoming director) did not yield much knowledge of cannabis.

The Drug Enforcement Agency can’t seem to hang on to directors. Acting head, Robert W. Patterson, told his staff he was out of there in two weeks. He said running the agency had become “increasingly challenging” to deal with as a temporary fill-in.

In his resignation, Patterson wrote he "realized that the administrator of the DEA needs to decide and address priorities for years into the future - something which has become increasingly challenging in an acting capacity."

In an exchange last month with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Patterson showed that his 30-year stint in the DEA (before being made acting director) did not yield much knowledge of cannabis.

Asked about the country’s opioid crisis and whether cannabis could or should play a role in alleviating it, Patterson acknowledged that there had been 44,000 deaths as the result of opioid-related overdoses and that he was “aware of a few deaths from marijuana.”

The DEA itself has said there were no known deaths attributed to a marijuana overdose in its 2017 report on drug abuse.

Patterson became the DEA’s acting head last October when Chuck Rosenberg, who had also served as an acting, rather than Senate-confirmed, director of the agency.

Rosenberg resigned in September 2017 saying that he didn’t believe that Trump respected the law.

Rosenberg’s decision came after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey and after Trump joked about police brutality, telling cops “please don’t be too nice” with crime suspects.

The Washington Post noted that it is not yet clear who will take over as acting DEA administrator following Patterson's departure.

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