The “Obama’s Pick To Head DEA Needs To Answer Some Tough Questions”

On Friday we informed you that the United States Senate Judiciary would begin confirmation hearings this week on Michele Leonhart, the President’s nominee to direct the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The hearings are scheduled to begin this Wednesday, November 17.

As I write today on the website of the Washington, DC politico newspaper The Hill, we must demand that the Senate ask Ms. Leonhart tough questions regarding her past record and her intentions moving forward.

Obama’s pick to head DEA needs to answer some tough questions
via The Hill

[excerpt] Ms. Leonhart’s actions and ambitions are incompatible with state laws, public opinion, and with the policies of this administration. At a minimum, Senators should ask Ms. Leonhart specific questions regarding her past record and her intentions moving forward. These questions ought to include:

* What are your plans for bridging the growing divide between state and federal law concerning the use of marijuana for medical purposes?

* How has the DEA changed its policies and practices to ensure compliance with the 2009 Department of Justice memo calling on federal law enforcement to no longer target individuals who are in compliance with the medical marijuana laws of their states?

* When will the DEA respond to a 2002 petition to hold hearings on the rescheduling of marijuana, as were called for by the American Medical Association?

Failure of the Senate to engage in a probing dialogue with Ms. Leonhart regarding these matters will continue to give the appearance that Congress and this administration are willing to place politics above science. This administration has specifically pledged to end this practice. It can begin doing so by demanding careful consideration be given to Michele Leonhart’s nomination.

The Hill is the paper of record on Capitol Hill, so please click here to read my entire commentary and leave respectful feedback. Then please contact your U.S. Senator directly. 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 and leave a short message by going here.

19 thoughts

  1. Here’s one more question for Leonhart:

    Exactly how many murders in Mexico determines the difference between a signpost to success and a signpost to failure?

  2. Sorry to inform you but all “government” is willing to play politics with people’s lives. It’s what they do, it’s not exclusive to one political party either.

    I commend you for trying and appreciate the effort to get questions answered from our ahem “leaders. I’m just a bit cynical that anyone in the DEA will act in a rational manner when their paycheck relies on them perpetuating the scam. I say this in all sincerity, fuck the DEA. They are the source of much misery in the world and the whole organization needs to be abolished.

  3. You say , contact your U.S. Senator ? The problem is that most everyone ( particularly Senators ) have recieved huge donations from Drug , Oil , Tobacco & Alcohol Companies & the reason why is to ” bribe ” them ( and that’s exactly what it is ) to keep Marijuana illegal .
    Don’t believe me ? Just go to ” ” type in any Senator’s name and see just how much they recieved from these Corporations .

  4. A judge, similarly facing a conflict of interest, may recluse him or herself, with another judge ready and willing to take their place. An administrator or executive with a similar conflict of interest has no such option — they are the final arbiter and executor of their appointed tasks. And like a general, many lives and livelihoods are at risk with a wrongful decision.

    The time to question the ability of an administrator to perform appointed tasks is before they are appointed to that position of power, and not after.

  5. look, i hope to do my part, whaterver it’s worth for the cause, ya know. but this lady won’t, doesn’t, can’t listen to us, nor care what we think. people like this woman is STUCK in one frame of mind. it’s a sad story but true. until they denounce all of there previous racial slurs and slander from the stupid ass reefer madness, you can’t take these people serious! anslinger said, and i’m paraphrasing, ” smoking weed makes a black man feel he is as good as a white man”. until they denounce these highly stupid, racial, and propaganda style remarks how can we take them serious? they are worse than the KKK. our own govnmt that supposedly supports our civil rights won’t denounce that shit? seriously that’s a question i want that woman, leonhardt to answer, Why haven’t you denounced ALL these racist slurs that you have been hanging on too ALL these years.

  6. I think Obama is scared. The DEA has more power than we’d all like to admit. Obama doesn’t want to end up like JFK so he’s doing what they’re telling him to do.

  7. TODAY – Tuesday, November 16 – is National Call-In Day: If you are concerned about America’s incarceration problem, please take a few minutes to call key senators who are in a position to do something about it. Tell Senate leadership to support the National Criminal Justice Commission Act!

    In 2009, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, S. 714 and H.R. 5143, which will create a bipartisan commission to complete a comprehensive review of the national criminal justice system, identify effective criminal justice policies and make recommendations for much-needed reform.
    The House of Representatives and the Senate Judiciary Committee have passed the bill, and 39 senators have co-sponsored it, but this important legislation still awaits final passage during the last few weeks of the Congressional session. If the National Criminal Justice Commission Act does not pass now, the whole process will have to be repeated in 2011.

    LEAP believes this bill will help us achieve our goal of legalization and regulation, as Senator Webb has said that discussing the legalization of drugs should be on the table for the commission. Drug prohibition directly impacts the problem of prison overcrowding by incarcerating nonviolent offenders, and America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. As a supporter of LEAP, please urge Senate leadership to pass this important legislation!


    Please call the following Senators TODAY, November 16, to ask them to prioritize and support Senate passage of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, S. 714:

    –Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), 202-224-3542

    –Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 202-224-3135

    –YOUR Senate representatives. To find contact information for the Senators representing your state, please call 202-224-3121


    “I am calling to ask Senator _________ to prioritize and support immediate Senate passage of S. 714, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, because the proposed commission would conduct a comprehensive national review of the efficacy of criminal justice policies in the United States and offer recommendations for reform that would improve public safety, governement accountability, cost effectiveness, and overall fairness in the implementation of the criminal justice system.”

    Thank you for your support of this important effort!

    Your donation puts LEAP speakers in front of audiences. To support LEAP’s work by making a contribution, please click here.

    121 Mystic Ave. Suites 8&9
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  8. Mr.Obama, is crazy to have this woman, who cares less about compassion and the sick and dying patients. She is more worried about how she can mess with peoples lives. She has no business in office of any kind.
    Throw her out on her butt!!

  9. I have been watching this so far (they are supposed to reconvene at 3:00 est) and it has basically been a joke. The word Marijuana has not been used once. Sen. Kohl (I believe) has been the most critical in his questioning, but it was mostly regarding seniors getting access to medicine.
    Each and every one of them (I had hopes for Franken) are drooling all over her and asking for more helpings of kool-aid. Feinstein opened the session and absolutely lauded her commitment to California and how proud we all are to have such a great acting director as Leonhart (paraphrasing here). Feinstein is so out of touch with popular opinion in California; she seems delusional.
    I’m hoping for some real questioning when they reconvene.

  10. That’s a Senate confirmation hearing? What a joke on us to expect this unqualified woman with a heart of stone to run a quasi-military operation with the ominous initials of D.E.A. It’s scary and I wouldn’t let Michele Leonhart be the dogcatcher in my town, she would manage to round up all the mutts living on the streets and take them right to the pound for their gassing. Sigh, was this really the HOPE and CHANGE I voted for, worked for, spent my precious time on? Come on President Obama (I know you have your staff reading all the blogs or you should), why can’t you see this 40 YEAR WAR ON MARIJUANA is a complete money sucking, soul crushing, civil liberty stealing FAILURE.

    Let’s get the DEA out of the marijuana business and keep the full court press on the 2002 pending rescheduling request. I just recently discovered that the Department of Agriculture can reschedule any drug (including Schedule I). So why don’t we as NORML request to Katherine Sebalius directly to look at the 2002 request and make a decision on it? I say we treat marijuana like hops since they are related the closest in the plant world. Marijuana (and hemp) should be treated like a crop and whatever the USDA says I’ll be glad to follow.

  11. I especially enjoy the fact that NORML posts this article TWO days before the hearings so when I write up my letter and mail it to my elected officials it wont arrive until later this week early next week. Why does it seem that NORML is always behind the ball on things…possibly why prop 19 got defeated. Another let-down on the NORML front. Not as shocking is the fact that this woman WILL be confirmed and she WILL be the next head of DEA, there is NOTHING anyone in America can do about it.

    [Paul Armentano responds: FYI, NORML first reported on Leonhart’s Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing last week, the same day it was publicly announced. NORML sent out a list-serv to all of its members re: the hearing. If you did not receive it, well, that likely means that you have not signed up to NORML’s free e-zine alert service. Perhaps you want to consider doing so. 2) Yesterday’s hearing was only a committee hearing; the full Senate will eventually have to confirm her, so your letter will arrive in plenty of time. 3) NORML strongly encouraged people to CALL or e-mail their Senator, which is likely more persuasive than writing hard copy letters, which now must go through an extensive screening process from Capitol Hill security before they are delivered. 4) Please explain how NORML was ‘behind the ball’ on Prop. 19.]

  12. I was in the military for six years. I am proud of my service and learned a lot about myself and the system of government that we live with. I did my full time and then some and got out of the military shortly after getting home from my last deployment. I was honorably discharge as an E-6 (staff sergeant.) The anxiety of not only coming home from a war zone but getting out of the military was not easy to handle.

    I am now going to school working on my BNS at a highly accredited nursing school. I live in Colorado now and am a MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATENT.I have no doubt that I would not be as healthy, level headed, and sociable if it were not for marijuana. It has helped me cope with anxiety, PTSD, as well as the massive head aches I get caused from my combat injuries (TBI, or traumatic brain injuries from IED attacks.) I smoke or eat edibles almost every day and maintain a 4.0 GPA. My husband was in for eight years, he is now routinely in a haze of smoke and he also maintains a 4.0 GPA as he finishes his school to become a MEDICAL LAB TECH. We both know what we will not be able to take part of this wonderful healing plant as soon as we start our clinical labs and get jobs due to drug testing, and that is unfortunate. I wish that 60 minutes would do a special on industrial hemp, and medical marijuana so that more people would be aware of their usefulness in ALL aspects of health and industrial progression.

    I am proud of my serves, but I am not proud of my country. The government has taken some horrible turns with some common sense issues because of money. Are you people aware that universities can no longer research Brest cancer because some prick patented the gene? Our government has allowed corporations to patent seeds that have grown naturally for thousands of years making position and study illegal without payment. I fear that even if Marijuana and industrial hemp were decriminalized it would be so heavily regulated NOT BY GOVERNMENT but by private (large company) organizations that people would still be unable to use and grow this plant without fear of court violations. Don’t believe me? Watch ‘Future of Food’ found on Netflicks OR watch this 33 mins in

  13. Leonhart said that social costs were a reason to fight against legalization at her questionnaire. Well how about we bring up the $1 trillion we’ve spent on the War on Drugs since the 70s. Yet teen usage is higher than ever. Social costs will be one of their defenses in 2012. That should be pretty easy to bring down.

  14. They just don’t get it! They can say or do whatever they want. It doesn’t matter! We the people – will do what we want, and what we want, is what we want. So! if they can’t beat us – they ought to join us. That’s perfectly obvious to me. What ever they do – they ought to quite this stubborn shit, and quite chasing their tail.

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