Jesse Ventura: 'DEA Is Just Toying With Us' About Rescheduling Marijuana

By Seth Ferranti 08/22/16

“Clearly the organization is too biased. And why wouldn't they be? They naturally want to keep the War on Drugs going strong—otherwise, they'd be out of a job."

Jesse Ventura: 'DEA Is Just Toying With Us' About Rescheduling Marijuana
Photo RT/YouTube

With the results of a recent marijuana study reporting that the number of habitual pot users has tripled over the last decade, a lot has been made of the Drug Enforcement Administration's recent decision not to reschedule the drug from its Schedule I classification—usually reserved for drugs with a high potential for abuse and no medical value—where it remains alongside heroin and LSD.

Former Minnesota governor and professional wrestling icon Jesse Ventura has decided to speak out on the issue. “The DEA was just toying with us,” he wrote in an open letter published on CNBC. “There are all kinds of contradictions and misrepresentations about marijuana. Everyone says we need more research to determine the true medical value of marijuana, but that won't happen within the U.S. for a number of reasons. In the first place, the DEA is in charge of approving scientific research studies!”

Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 25 states and recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia. With more voting on the issue every year, ten states have marijuana initiatives on the ballot this November, according to Ballotpedia.

The DEA’s stance is not only ridiculous, but absurd. But Ventura says that we shouldn’t expect anything less from the so-called Drug Enforcement Administration, which not only has a vested interest in keeping the War on Marijuana going, but has the power to make sure that no research or studies emerge that would threaten its position. Because, as Ventura says, if the research and studies were allowed, the DEA would be out of a job.

“Clearly the organization is too biased,” he wrote. “And why wouldn't they be? They naturally want to keep the War on Drugs going strong—otherwise, they'd be out of a job. It comes down to job security. Why on earth would they reverse their position on marijuana? That would mean for the past 45 years, they've been prosecuting American citizens unjustly, ruining lives, and for what? Nothing. Literally nothing. Imagine if the DEA did reclassify marijuana. Would everyone with a marijuana conviction then be able to sue the DEA? Would their sentences be commuted? Would we see amnesty for marijuana offenders?”

These are issues and questions that the DEA is obviously looking at when determining whether to reclassify cannabis. With a multi-million dollar budget and a stranglehold on the drug war, why would they give up their livelihood? They are protecting their own interests. Because at the end of the day, it's not about what’s right or wrong. It's not about what the people and the states want. It’s about the industry of mass incarceration and the massive criminal justice system that the narco-warriors have spawned. Ventura, who has a book coming out on September 6, The Marijuana Manifesto, is right on point with his comments. 

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.