Senate Scheduled To Vote Next Week Obama’s Drug Warrior Nominee, Michele Leonhart

The National Journal reports that the United States Senate Judiciary will decide next week on the nomination of Michele Leonhart to head the Drug Enforcement Administration. NORML, along with numerous other groups, have opposed this nomination — and we continue to urge the Senate to reject Ms. Leonhart for this high ranking federal position.

DEA Nomination on Track in the Senate Despite Opposition
via The National Journal

[excerpt] After a seven-month wait, the Senate Judiciary Committee has set a November 17 hearing on the nomination of Michele Leonhart as Drug Enforcement Administration chief.

Groups advocating for medicinal marijuana have waged a spirited campaign to derail Leonhart’s confirmation. In a July letter to President Obama, several pro-marijuana groups and liberal organizations, such as FireDogLake and the 10th Amendment Center, accused Leonhart, a Bush administration holdover who is serving as DEA’s acting administrator, of ignoring an October 2009 Justice Department directive urging federal authorities not to waste government time and resources “on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws.”

President Obama offered a similar view while campaigning in 2008.

Though the number of DEA raids on medicinal marijuana growers has dropped, the agency has carried out dozens since the directive was issued. [Author’s Note: Read about one of the federal government’s most recent prosecutions here.] The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and other groups accuse Leonhart of continuing a policy she helped oversee while a top DEA deputy under Bush.

Leonhart has also irked marijuana advocates by overruling a DEA law judge’s ruling giving a University of Massachusetts professor, Lyle Craker, a license to grow marijuana for FDA-approved research. Critics noted that the ruling leaves intact a decades-old monopoly by the University of Mississippi as the country’s only legal producer of marijuana for medical research. Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., has funneled millions of dollars in earmarks to the center, housed in a building that bears his name.

Citing such concerns, groups opposed to Leonhart’s confirmation have launched letter-writing campaigns and online petitions calling for her nomination to be withdrawn or rejected, and they have won support in a series of sympathetic editorials this year.

What the groups have not been able to do, however, is get the attention of the White House or the Senate.

In addition to the actions above, Ms. Leonhart has steadfastly neglected to reply to an eight-year old petition to reschedule marijuana for medical use, which was supported by NORML and was called for by the American Medical Association and a growing number of states and federal judges.

Further, Ms. Leonhart has publicly called the increasing level of drug prohibition-related violence on the U.S/Mexican border — violence that is now attributed to over 31,000 deaths since December 2006 — as a sign of the “success” of America’s drug war strategies.

“Our view is that the violence we have been seeing is a signpost of the success our very courageous Mexican counterparts are having,” Leonhart told the publication Government Executive in 2009. “The cartels are acting out like caged animals, because they are caged animals.”

Is this really the sort of person we want running the top anti-drug enforcement group in the land?!

Ms. Leonhart’s actions and ambitions are incompatible with common sense marijuana law reform and the stated policies of this administration. Please urge the Senate to reject this nomination. For your convenience, a pre-written letter will be e-mailed to your member of the U.S. Senate when you click here. You can also call your U.S. Senate office here.

You can also check out this latest post from our allies at Just Say Now: Senate Likely to Approve Obama’s Pot-Hating, Insubordinate DEA Head Next Week.

64 thoughts

  1. So why would Obama make an appointment totally at odds with all of his previously stated positions? When has he not? Probably traded off this issue for some other totally unconnected special foreign policy interest.He’s been especially busy in that respect lately. From the total silence at the hearing, seems like all the other usual suspects in the Democrat Party have signed off to their special interests of choice as well.

    As for the Mexicans(and Colombians and Canadians), you must have noticed their intense lobbying efforts against the recent California initiative. Very bad for their business.

    As for the comments on “Why do they do it” They, the DEA and locals are bureaucrat’s building an empire. Who else is going to pay you big bucks to engage in a “cops and robbers” pantomime. Beats working at Walmart. If they could outlaw air breathing they would. Just imagine how many culprits they could round up and how much money could be made!

    Keep voting for Demo-Republicans and we can keep having these conversations forever.

    From an Environmental bureaucrat

  2. 34 Naga Sadhu

    I don’t know what state you’re in or who represents you – but – a pot-phobic prohib is a pot-phobic prohib in no matter what state their in. The state their in is a “state of mind” and one that, at least to me, requires professional help. Lions-heart the “huntress.” Excuse me! I laughed so hard I pissed my pants.

Leave a Reply