NORML Opposes President Obama’s Pick To Head The Drug Enforcement Administration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 21, 2010

Following Recent Raids, Medical Marijuana Advocacy Groups Call on President Obama to Withdraw Nomination of Michele Leonhart to be DEA Administrator

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

CONTACT: Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director, 202-483-5500 or director@norml.org

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, a coalition of organizations supportive of medical marijuana patients and providers (see list of organizations below) are 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 fourteen states have enacted medical marijuana laws and science is increasingly confirming the therapeutic benefits of the substance.

“It is clearly time for President Obama to insist that his appointees adhere to current Justice Department guidelines regarding state laws regulating the medical use of marijuana, and that marijuana be fairly evaluated by all federal agencies, based on science, not ideology,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the nation’s oldest marijuana legalization lobby. “The Obama administration should be working with us to eliminate criminal penalties for the responsible use of marijuana by adults, regardless of whether it is medical use or otherwise.”

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.

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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)

71 thoughts

  1. Who are the reform groups, we legalizers, suggesting then for the position? What’s former Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico doing? How about him? He ran as a republican, and hopefully can have some sway with congressional republicans, too. Former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders? Why not have a doctor instead of a law enforcement bureaucrat? Finally the science could be trump over dogma, and drug use can be dealt with as the medical issue it is, differentiating between use, abuse, addiction, separation of soft drugs from hard drugs and so on along those lines.

    Abandon the law enforcement supply side economic theory in cannabis prohibition because interdiction to reduce the supply has not significantly reduced demand.

    Cannabis prohibition simply is not worth the dollars spent on it anymore, and has become a non-priority so the money saved from ending prohibition can be used in places where it is really needed, not some fluff make-you-feel- good Dudley Do Right thing.

  2. Great! I wrote both my Senators about her. One of whom, I believe, sits on the committee that will question whoever the nominee is.

    I pointed them to some of Eric E. Sterling’s writings who links to other’s writings about how she seems to have a too-cozy relationship with one person in particular, an informant who has broken numerous laws, and who seems to often be the SOLE accuser, and who seems to have made at least one million dollars from his questionable accusations of others!

    http://JusticeAndDrugs.blogspot.com/2010/01/questions-surround-nominee-to-head-dea.html

  3. Obama, you’d better start backing up your words with actions, unless you’d prefer to be a single-term lame duck! It is NOT ok for things to keep going the way they have for years. Are you planning on having the troops with PTSD returning home, getting jobs in law enforcement and start taking it out on those of us whose “rights” they are supposedly fighting for?

  4. I totally agree. Circumventing or completely ignoring state laws to prosecute a witch hunt on U.S. citizens is appalling. The people of these states VOTED on the resolutions to legalize, yet the Federal Government feels that they can ignore the will of the people…sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

    If anybody thinks the the NIH or any other Federal agency will research the benefits of marijuana objectively without LOTS of pressure from your elected officials you are mistaken. The Feds can hear nothing but their own outdated and scientifically flawed “research”…from over 100 years ago.

    It’s time that we have MORE research done in the format that the Feds require so we can blow some really big holes (and a LOT of smoke) in their shameless ignorance of facts…besides the fact that they are interfering in a states right to govern itself.

    Man, AS A SPECIES, has enjoyed the benefits of natural herbs and plants for hundreds of thousands of years. I’ve never once, in my nearly 50 years of life, EVER heard of anyone overdosing and dying from smoking pot. The same CAN’T be said for the other Schedule 1 drugs (or alcohol & cigarettes). For heaven’s sake…look at the drugs currently listed as Schedule 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Schedule_I_drugs_%28US%29

    Anyone see how marijuana can be classified in the same group as opiates and LSD? Why can the Native Americans enjoy Peyote in rituals but the average American citizen can’t smoke marijuana? How did it ever come down to this insanity?

    Didn’t Obama tell his people to back off? So if they aren’t listening to their boss, why aren’t they getting the boot and finding work outside of the Federal Government?

    Time to start writing your letters/emails to your elected Federal officials. Do it with facts, facts and more facts. Don’t rant, don’t give them the ammo they need to call us nut-cases.

  5. These dinosaurs need to be let out to pasture. The writing is on the wall… America is tired of the drug war!

  6. Hopefully Obama has the right mind to change his nomination, or there is going to be alot of angry people….

  7. This is absolutely ridiculous. Thank you NORML for fighting and keeping us informed. Without you we would continue to be held prisoners to this “war on drugs”. We’ve got a long way to go but have made a few very exciting steps forward in past few months. Lets keep it going until these “trained politicians” can realize this is what Americans want!!

  8. All of the change I was so hoping for is not happening. Have always been a strong supporter of Obama but me, like many others are losing faith that he can move us forward, especially since he gave us states rights to medical marijuana essentially and now trying to put someone in there to do the dirty work, while his hands stay clean. Shame on you Obama. Please do not appointment someone that is going to take 4 steps backwards. We need to keep moving forward.

  9. Who wants a world with lots of happy,good feeling people running around. Wouldn’t make much sense in an economy that is run by American suffering. Wars,prisons,drug company’s that make all sorts of chemical concoccions for whatever may ail you. Peaceful,happy non-violent people are not what makes our miserable planet turn,it’s the violence,the misery,the suffering.Putting Michele Leonhart in a position to continue a policy of ignorance, is a decision only Harry J.Anslinger could appreciate.

  10. Contact your elected representatives, including Obama. A letter to the White House may be just the ticket. It is likely that Obama seldom reflects upon the DEA, which is irrelevant to the nation, because he feels he has more important matters on his plate.

  11. hi I’m President Barack Hussein Obama. I am smart and I know people all across america will believe in me if I use the word, change, over and over again people will love and want me in government. wut up pres. Its time for action.

  12. Our Nicotine Addicted Hypocrite in the Oval office is in too much of a Nicotine fog to do anything so reasonable

  13. People need to wake up to what Obama actually stands for, rather than what he said during the campaign. He is a prohibitionist plain and simple. Every action he has taken and every word he has uttered since his election contradicts his promise to restore science in public policy. Even his administration’s supposed stance on medical marijuana states is pure bullsh*t. The DEA has continued raids in California, and Obama’s justice department has continued to bring providers up on federal charges. In San Diego county, a federal judge recently ruled that a defendant couldn’t use Obama’s or Eric Holder’s statements on the federal government’s position in his defense. He ruled that it wasn’t reasonable for someone to believe what Holder said on the issue, that the defendant would need a personal assurance from the federal government that they wouldn’t prosecute him. Obama has lost all support from me. With public opinion in support of medical marijuana, it would have been easy for him to take a reasonable, science-based approach to the issue. The fact that he hasn’t shows me who he really is: another prohibitionist who doesn’t give a sh*t about personal freedom.

  14. All I know is that I voted for change.

    The current state of affairs is unacceptable. Cannabis prohibition is an unjust law. Private interests control public policy and the result is social injustice.

    In a country where the highest ideal is freedom, liberty with personal responsibility, Cannabis prohibition is a disgrace including the DEA’s draconian bent against Cannabis in the past, regardless of actual drug safety, side effects, and the possible benefits the Cannabis plant affords to humankind. Medicine. Nutrition. Safer than alcohol, safer than aspirin. Not harmless, nothing is, but Cannabis is the safest therapeutic medicine.

    Yet tobacco is legal. And fertilized with chemicals that are known to contain radioactive isotopes and this is subsidized by our government (i.e. your tax dollars). Then tobacco companies take the tobacco and add hundreds of compounds to make cigarettes more addictive and people are dying in the most miserable way in droves, all the while Cannabis is “illegal.”

    Cannabis prohibition is an unjust law.
    Cannabis prohibition is Unjust.
    Cannabis prohibition is Unfair.
    Cannabis prohibition is Unreasonable (there are no sincerely good reasons for it).
    Cannabis prohibition is a cause of much social injustice and lack of faith in our leadership and disdain for “the law” or what is supposed to be the spirit of the law.

    Cannabis prohibition is a crime against humanity.

    “How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”

    “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.” -MLK

    I think most people understand this deep down, even those who have not read Letters from a Birmingham Jail. That is why Cannabis prohibition has been totally ineffective and at the same time has created organized crime at the expense of taxpayers, in the name of good intentions.

  15. Some very eloquent words I have read on this page. I have to ask of the government hack(s) and prohibitionists what it must be like knowing that sooner or later, their little drug war will come to an end? Sooner or later, they will have to face up to the science. Truth is on our side, and we are going to win.

  16. Well, since the whole marijuana legalization movement has to be nonviolent and benign… and since I desperately want these violent bastards to get a taste of their own violent medicine. I guess I’ll have to go out and buy some drug cartel pot this weekend! That’s right… I’m choosing pro-cartel… because that way my money will fun people who will shoot intolerant gun toting bastards IN THE FACE. Not that I don’t respect law enforcement, but these are clearly the same people who’d love to put you down over an eighth.

    FIGHT THE WAR ON DRUGS– BUY MEXICAN POT~!

  17. Good God, here we go again. Another promise broken by this President. I wish he’d decide if he’s a Mexican citizen or an American citizen. Why back off on San Francisco and target the rest of the country? I didn’t vote for him and am glad I didn’t vote for the biggest liar this country’s ever seen. Take a big step backward for freedom in America. Why not bring back Ashcroft too and McCafferty? Persecution and prosecution drive this boat with a crew of confiscation and forfeiture. Revenue must be the name of it.

  18. Wow, what a fascist. Flagrantly going around state and local law. What gives DEA the right? The people? No, the government. And how can the government by the people be against the people? I don’t understand.

  19. I KNOW that compounds in the cannabis plant CAN CURE cancer. President Obama talks of cutting health care cost. 209.9 billion dollars are spent on cancer TREATMENT every year in the U.S. If the federal gov would lift its restrictions on research into the cancer curing properties I have NO doubt that a cure would quickly be found for every kind of cancer known. The problem is that when a cure is found, the 209.9 billion dollars spent on treatment would vanish, and over 500 million people would stop dieing from this terrible disease EVERY YEAR in the U.S. We can’t have that, can we? All that money going out of big pharmas pockets, all that money becoming unavailable from big pharmas lobbiest, all those people increasing the population. I can think of no other reason for the gov restricting research into the curitive properties of the cannabis plant. Can you?

  20. We the people of the United States of America do hereby petition and demand that the United States Government restore the Constitution of tne United States to it’s rightful place in directing Government Affairs. In particular:

    1. The United States Government be required to work within the guidelines setforth in the constitution.

    2. That any and all freedoms and liberties of the American Citizen be reinstated as per the constitution.

    3. That Government shall have no authority over any citzens choice of medicines or health care.

    4. That the federal reserve be audited and the citizens of the United States know exactly the amount of assets on hand.

    5. That the war on drugs be ended, that the medicinal use of marijuana be researched and tested by an unbiased committee and the results be made public, that marijuana be legalized for personal use of anyone over the age of 21,that mariuana be taxed and regulated just like tobaco and alcohol.

    6. That the ban on hemp be lifted and tax revenue from the sale of marijuana be used to fund the planting, harvesting, and infrastucture to produce fuel from hemp and that the United States Government set in motion the necessary act to make the United States free of foreign oil in 10 years.

    7. That the President of the United states be stripped of any and all powers except those granted by the Constitution of the United States of America.

    8. That cronyism be outlawed and punishable and that the Federal Government operate in the best interest of it’s citizens.

    Thanks for listening!

  21. Whats up with the dumb asses in office they have no fear to go to another country and kill who ever they want. and when it comes to our own people it seems like they have no fear as well. Watch out the hippies with their skunky flowers are a danger to us all!!!!!!!!

  22. President Obama is too distracted to be bothered by voters who had put him in office. He wants to prove how much of a world leader he is by not being push around on domestic issues that he doesn’t believe is serious. I’ve wonder what the next token will be? Whatever it is, it would not change a thing.
    He made a small crowd of people behind him laugh at you on television as he makes all of this a joke.
    The DEA will laugh too while they prepare themselves for more raids against the state when Michele Leonhart becomes the DEA Administrator.

  23. I hope and pray I am selected to be on the jury when Ms. Michele Leonhart is brought to trial for her “drug war” crimes against hamanity. She and her ilk are clearly violating God’s will for people to live in freedom with liberty as cited and acknowledged in the Constitution of the United States. Yes, that would be the same Constitution she swore an oath to uphold and defend. I’ve got an idea how to end this whole insane, costly, destructive mess. How about people simply re-read the Constitution, then mind their own damn business?!!! I am sick and tired of living in a police state run by people who somehow feel self-entitled to run the lives of adult citizens in this country who are doing absolutely no harm to anyone or anything else. If I were the judge at Leonhart’s trial, I’d sentence here to make restitution to all she has wrongfully harmed, then send her to prison and keep her there until she learned to mind her own business.

  24. Spread the word:
    Dale Ogden 59, Southern California, Libertarian party governor candidate November 2010, is voting Yes on Prop 19… http://www.daleogden.org/
    Start the grass roots movement for Dale now and let him be part of our October surprise.

  25. Tell President Obomber to take his War Mongering, Prohibitionist arse back to Chicago.

    Gary Johnson 2012.

  26. Obama is on the bait and switch trail. It is unconstitutional for Obama to tell the feds to back down on Medicinal Marijuana users. They backed off for a total of 24 hours. Then the raids started in California and its been nonstop since.

    The DA is getting away with it and Obama is looking the other way. Until the Federal Government changes the law, the DA’s all over will keep busting people left and right. Lets just all omit it. Obama lied or hidden agenda or both?

  27. looks like a delay in officially putting her in charge because of backroom topical buzz.

    something is stirring in d.c. some gangstas are getting very nervous.

  28. Who is running America? Have you ever asked that question?

    Under the doctrine of Parens Patriae, “Government As Parent”, as a result of the manipulated bankruptcy of the United States of America in 1930, ALL the assets of the American people, their person, and of our country itself are held by the Depository Trust Corporation at 55 Water Street, NY, NY, secured by UCC Commercial Liens, which are then monetized as “debt money” by the Federal Reserve. It may interest you to know that under the umbrella of the Depository Trust Corporation lies the CEDE Corporation, the Federal Reserve Corporation, the American Bar Association, the legal arm of the banking interests, and the Internal Revenue Service, the system’s collection agency.

  29. Let’s face it people. It’s about a lot more than simply legalizing marijuana.

    It’s about the restoration of human rights, big brother spying on you, run away government forcing it’s will on the people. It’s about corruption in government and cronyism. It’s about the American President having the authority to have you assasinated on american or foreign soil.

    Most of the people in this country have no idea what’s going on in government. If they did there would surely be a revolution. They think the constitution protects their rights. they don’t realize the constitution has been put on the back shelf and covered with dust. And government basically runs rough shod over it’s people for the so called “good of the country.”

    The President, the Senate, the Congress have their own agenda to ram down our throats. To hell with the rights of the poeple. Not to mention all of the out of control beauocrats who have their own agendas.

    Republicans and Democrats alike are to blame for the mess this country is in. That’s what happens when you only have two political parties that have all the power. Obama wasn’t elected because the people wanted him in office. He was elected because so many americans were discusted with their choices and didn’t bother to vote.

    Our lawmakers are elected on the backs of big money from special interests and big business. Until that changes everything remains the same.

    I’d like to see a Ron Paul Gary Johnson ticket. I’d give 100% support.

  30. Lately even Mr. Olbermann has had it with President Obama and his staff for their dull edge quagmire approach to getting things done. There is only one difference between President Bush Jr. and President Obama and that’s the number of times in office. Voters won’t be putting Obama back in office a second time. In the minds of a significant portion of non-black American voters President Obama is the moniker representing the best that black politicians have to offer America. It may be a very long time before another person of color is President because of what President Obama has made of things during his time in the White House.

  31. We, as Americans would have more FREEDOMS if only the people WE elect would vote OUR OPINIONS rather than what he or she is paid to think.When has anyone ever heard a Senator or Rep. say, when asked about a particular vote,”Let me get back to you, I have to see how my constituents feel”.This country would be a very differant place if the WILL OF THE PEOPLE MEANT A SHIT! Maybe someday, the PEOPLES WELFARE will be chosen over GREED and PROFITS.

  32. Science is great, but what about what is in your heart? The gentle quiet sound of rain on the roof. A cat in my arms, a pipe in my hand, steak and eggs with garlic toast for breakfast. Give me break.

  33. aside from protests, what other legal avenues can the people take to stop this lady from being appointed, she dose not read this site and if she dose she is laughing at us, as appalling as all this is, it gives us a look in to the future, where states rights are totally suppressed. there has to be a way for the American people too stop this.

  34. nothing will change if we dont get out there and show these people who runs this nation,give me freedom or give me death.

  35. OBAMA AVOIDS BIBLE VERSES

    Here are some Bible verses that Pres. Obama avoids:
    Proverbs 19:10 (NIV): “It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury – how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!”
    Also Proverbs 30:22 (NIV) which says that the earth cannot bear up under “a servant who becomes king.”
    And Ecclesiastes 5:2-3 (KJV) advises: “let thy words be few…a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.”
    Although Obama is not descended from slaves, he may feel that he’s destined to become a black-slavery avenger.
    Or maybe an enslaver of all free citizens!
    For the brain-dead, pro-murder politicians in Washington DeCeased who fix Social Security by voting to abort millions who otherwise could be paying into SS (!), I have two pro-life slogans I thought up:
    “Unborn babies should have the right to keep and bear arms – and legs and ears and eyes etc.!” and “Unborn babies should have the same right to be born alive that abortionists had!”
    For more insights, Google “Obama Supports Public Depravity” and “Mayor ‘Napoleon’ Bloomberg.”
    BREAKING NEWS about Obama’s re-election promise:
    The promise of “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” can be traced to Hoover’s 1928 Presidential campaign.
    Well, Obama has twisted these words and is promising that if he’s re-elected there will be “a chick in every car and some pot in every garage!”

  36. People were sort of curious as to why a Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Mr. Obama when he hasn’t done anything significant to warrant it. There’s no better way for him to earn the prize than to end Cannabis prohibition.

    Because Cannabis prohibition is institutionalized stupidity and greed based on disinformation, history would be on his side. He would be standing on the higher moral ground, against an unjust law. Once it’s done, it would be easier to look back and say that the Cannabis prohibition was a mistake. Despite all the demonization, lies, and false stereotypes spread by intellectually dishonest people about Cannabis, it’s probably the most useful plant to humanity.

  37. Gee , Soon they’ll be placing R.F.I.D. chips in your legal marijuana along w/all their additives to keep you addicted to their “New” Legal crap ! Taxed @ $50.00 a ounce Be careful to what you wish for ! Give me liberty or something’s getting broke !

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