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


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

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. In 2012 I’m not voting for Obama, He has lied from the war issue overseas and domestic issues and he was ask twice about the question about legalizing marijuana and he said twice no and it just made every stoner look even more dumb over the internet and I’m not having that. This site to every drug or marijuana legalizing groups needs to vote for real republicans for example Represntive Ron Paul. If Obama elects this specific person, it would look like the Clinton Admidistration and everything. So, In 2012, let’s bring the fight to the debates to every Potlitian to is running for president or now would be even better time to elect Senators who truly represents the people and stuff.

  2. Why are we still allowing one man to run the country!!! A million people are smarter than 1! We need to take control, what can we do norml?????

  3. I’m done campaigning. I’ve been ignored time and time again. If you think our government can get anything done at this point then you are delusional. There is not 1 candidate that will ever do anything. Their tone will change immediately after they arrive in Washington. No, I am done putting time and effort into this for people that do not take it seriously. Ranting isn’t going to solve anything. No one takes this seriously enough and words are not enough. Action is required because talk is cheap. Rant to somebody who cares. I do not. I am through with these games. I am sick of being ignored.

  4. Anonymous #53 – It’s not that ” there is not 1 candidate that will ever do anything” then you clearly just aren’t voting the right way. Voting for a mainstream Dem or Repub (like there is a difference” is just a vote for the war party, and a good indication that they will do nothing for you. You need to think outside of that box my friend. You will be more pleased with your vote, I promise you that.

  5. Alcohol should be illegal then thats one of the most deadliest drugs. Cannabis The Earth’s Most Valuable, Versatile and Sustainable Natural Resource. high-grade vegetable oil for cooking, cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, lubrication, fuel, plastics, etc. The seed is a cholesterol-lowering source of full protein. It also posseses omegas, the essential fatty acids that are critical to human nureological and immunological well-being. Hemp is dried and broken down into two parts: thread–like fibers and bits of “hurd,” or pulp. Each has its own distinct applications:

    The long bark fiber, or bast, at 77% cellulose, is cleaned and spun into thread, yarn or rope, or woven or knit into a variety of durable, high-quality textiles for clothing, canvas and fabrics of many textures.

    The inner core that remains is called hemp hurds, an abosrbent material with cellulose for tree-free, dioxin-free paper; non-toxic paints and sealants; industrial fabrication materials; construction materials; hemi-cellulose for plastic, and much more! Hemp is the best sustainable source of plant pulp for biomass fuel to make charcoal, gas, methanol, gasoline or even produce electricity.

  6. Reasons Cannabis could be put under Shedule II:

    When it comes to a drug that is currently listed in schedule II:

    (A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

    (B) The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.

    (C) Abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

    When it comes to a drug that is currently listed in schedule I:

    (A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

    (B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

    (C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

    Part (A) is covered under schedule I and schedule II.
    Part (B) cannabis has many scientifically proven medical benefits at this time
    Part (C) of schedule I, under medical supervision an accepted safety standard is understood between the doctor and patient
    Part (C) of schedule II, science would need to determine any degree of dependence, physical or psychological. (not moral uproar and ignorance)

    Science should determine safety standards, not politics. I don’t understand why there has to be so much red tape involved in making changes. The definitions in the schedules are clear and have been addressed.

  7. From the American Policy to Michele Leonhart – what a contradiction. Just one more contradiction that will fill his pants with cement.

  8. Leonhart is just another puppet being controlled by corrupt politicians in the pockets of big business. Pharmaceutical, tobacco, alcohol, insurance and the petroleum industries will lose huge profits with ANY legalization of Cannabis for ANY reason. These industries aren’t willing to diversify because they’ve already “put all their eggs into one basket”.

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