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Jul-21-2010 10:04printcomments

Continued Drug Raids: Obama Asked to Withdraw Nomination of Michele Leonhart for DEA Chief

Obama’s DEA Head Must Follow Stated Medical Marijuana Policy, End Obstruction of Marijuana Research, and Base Marijuana Rescheduling on Science Rather Than Ideology.

Michelle Leonhart

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Today, a coalition of organizations supportive of medical marijuana patients and providers (see list of organizations below) is calling on President Obama to withdraw his nomination of Michele Leonhart to serve as administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Ms. Leonhart, who is currently the DEA’s acting-administrator, has not demonstrated that she is capable of leading the agency in a thoughtful manner at a time when 14 states have enacted medical marijuana laws and science is increasingly confirming the therapeutic benefits of the substance.

Under Leonhart's leadership, the DEA has staged medical marijuana raids in apparent disregard of Attorney General Eric Holder's directive to respect state medical marijuana laws. Most recently, DEA agents flouted a pioneering Mendocino County (CA) ordinance to regulate medical marijuana cultivation by raiding the very first grower to register with the sheriff. Joy Greenfield, 69, had paid more than $1,000 for a permit to cultivate 99 plants in a collective garden that had been inspected and approved by the local sheriff.

Informed that Ms. Greenfield had the support of the sheriff, the DEA agent in charge responded by saying, “I don’t care what the sheriff says.” The DEA's conduct is inconsistent with an October 2009 Department of Justice memo directing officials not to arrest individuals “whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”

Ms. Leonhart has also demonstrated that she is unable to be objective in carrying out the duties of the administrator as it relates to medical marijuana research. In January 2009, she refused to issue a license to the University of Massachusetts to cultivate marijuana for FDA-approved research, despite a DEA administrative law judge’s ruling that it would be “in the public interest” to issue the license. This single act has blocked privately funded medical marijuana research in this country. The next DEA administrator will likely influence the outcome of a marijuana-rescheduling petition currently before the agency. It is critical that an administrator with an open mind toward science and research is at the helm.

“With Leonhart’s nomination pending, one would expect her to be more — not less — respectful of the Department of Justice and the rights of individuals in medical marijuana states,” said Steve Fox, director of government relations at the Marijuana Policy Project. “Such behavior is an ominous sign for the future of the DEA under her leadership. Moreover, she has continually demonstrated her desire to block privately funded medical marijuana research in this country. The Obama administration has reversed many Bush administration policies over the past 18 months. It is time to transform the culture at the DEA by either withdrawing Leonhart’s nomination or directing her to change her attitude toward medical marijuana.”

The following organizations are calling on President Obama to withdraw the nomination of Ms. Leonhart if she does not end the attacks on individuals acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws and commit to making decisions related to medical marijuana based on science, not a personal anti-marijuana bias:

  • California NORML
  • Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
  • Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
  • Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
  • Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)


Source: The Marijuana Policy Project, the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States.

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lessgov July 22, 2010 4:20 pm (Pacific time)

the DEA is the greatest threat to freedom America has ever seen. they are vile un-american filth.

Anonymous July 21, 2010 2:53 pm (Pacific time)

Drugs will never be legal. As I have been saying for about a decade now, the CIA, and the banks are making too much money, and they dont want any competition. I understood why people did not believe me before, but now its being admitted in mainstream news and government documents. The banks launder the money, the military industrial complex supplies the drugs. research: banks laundering drug money... military guarding opium fields in Afghanistan.... Russia complains about heroin from Afghanistan.... And closer to home? Lake Oswego having heroin outbreak. Heroin comes from Afghanistan and Mexico...Instead of obama doing something about the mexican drug trade, he is sueing Arizona...and says nothing about the heroin coming in from Afghanistan...Are you getting the picture YET??? By the way, also research how many people are in prison, for NON VIOLENT crimes, they just had a drug problem. This is sick. The U.S. is nothing but a war and prison country, and its only been expanded since Obushma/bushbama.. Get over it, drugs, including marijuana (harmless) will never be legal, but FDA approved prescription drugs, which kill hundreds of thousands, flows freely, and legally. End transmission, go back and watch your friggin tv.

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