Obama’s DEA Nominee Pledges To Ignore Administration’s Medical Marijuana Policy

It was a little over a year ago when the United States Department of Justice announced that it would back away from pursuing cases against medical marijuana patients and providers who are acting in accordance with state and local laws.

“As a general matter, pursuit of [federal law enforcement] priorities should not focus federal resources … on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana,” The DOJ announced on October 19, 2009. “For example, prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources.”

Apparently Michelle Leonhart, President Obama’s nominee to direct the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, didn’t get the memo.

Speaking yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, on day one of her Senate confirmation process, Leonhart pledged to ignore the administration’s formal medical marijuana guidelines.

Michele Leonhart one step closer to officially heading up the DEA
via The Daily Caller

[excerpt] Acting director Michele Leonhart is that much closer to officially heading up the Drug Enforcement Agency after successfully navigating a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

If confirmed to the position she’s already held for three years, Leonhart said she would expand the DEA’s anti-cartel operations in Mexico and continue to enforce federal drug laws in states where medical marijuana is legal.

… Perhaps due to the failure of Prop 19 in California (and despite the passage of medical marijuana in Arizona), Kohl, along with Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Al Franken of Minnesota, made no mention of medical marijuana. Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, however, made it his prime focus.

“I’m a big fan of the DEA,” said Sessions, before asking Leonhart point blank if she would fight medical marijuana legalization.

“I have seen what marijuana use has done to young people, I have seen the abuse, I have seen what it’s done to families. It’s bad,” Leonhart said. “If confirmed as administrator, we would continue to enforce the federal drug laws.”

“These legalization efforts sound good to people,” Sessions quipped. “They say, ‘We could just end the problem of drugs if we could just make it legal.’ But any country that’s tried that, Alaska and other places have tried it, have failed. It does not work,” Sessions said.

“We need people who are willing to say that. Are you willing to say that?” Sessions asked Leonhart.

“Yes, I’ve said that, senator. You’re absolutely correct [about] the social costs from drug abuse, especially from marijuana,” Leonhart said. “Legalizers say it will help the Mexican cartel situation; it won’t. It will allow states to balance budgets; it won’t. No one is looking [at] the social costs of legalizing drugs.”

It is shocking to learn that not a single Senator who attended the hearing, in particular Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, had the courage to demand that Ms. Leonhart respect the laws of the 15 states that have legalized the use of marijuana as a medicine. In the case of Sen. Whitehouse, his own state is now in the process of licensing state-certified marijuana providers and distributors; yet he appears to have no problem with the idea of appointing a federal official who declares her intention to put his own constituents in federal prison.

It gets even more disturbing. In the days leading up to Wednesday’s initial confirmation hearing, a coalition of advocacy groups — including NORML, Americans for Safe Access, and others called on members of the Senate Judiciary to ask Ms. Leonhart tough questions regarding her public record, one that is incompatible with state laws, public opinion, and with the policies of this administration. Yet not a single Senator did so.

There is a growing divide between state and federal law concerning the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and it would only take members of the Senate — or Ms. Leonhart for that matter — a cursory scan of today’s google headlines to see it:

Prop 203 Passes: Medical Marijuana to Be Legal in Arizona
via CBS News

New Mexico approves six new medical marijuana producers
via The New Mexico Independent

Maine couple cleared to open marijuana clinic
via The Associated Press

DC revises medical marijuana regulations
via Comcast

As we’ve written before, as Interim DEA director, Ms. Leonhart has overseen dozens of federal raids on medical marijuana providers, producers, and laboratory facilities that engage in the testing of cannabis potency and quality. Yesterday Ms. Leonhart pledged to continue these actions — actions that violate this administration’s own written policies, and more importantly, actions that target the civilians of fifteen states and the District of Columbia. These people are the constituents of 30 percent of the U.S. Senate; yet not even one of these elected officials appears willing to speak up for them. That is disgraceful.

Want to write or call your Senator about Ms. Leonhart’s nomination process? You can still do so here and here.

164 thoughts

  1. What a hypocrite!

    Quote “I have seen what marijuana use has done to young people, I have seen the abuse, I have seen what it’s done to families. It’s bad,” Leonhart said. “If confirmed as administrator, we would continue to enforce the federal drug laws.”

    Yah, and I can say the same about alcohol, my uncle was a RAGING drunk and died at the age of 45 due to it! So should we turn around and bring back the 18 Amendment???

  2. ““These legalization efforts sound good to people,” Sessions quipped. “They say, ‘We could just end the problem of drugs if we could just make it legal.’ But any country that’s tried that, Alaska and other places have tried it, have failed. It does not work,” Sessions said.”

    Up to 1 oz of herb is legal in Alaska in the home.

    Sessions sounds like a real retard. Alcohol kills thousands and tobacco kills 10s of thousands every year, why don’t we outlaw them?

  3. with any luck the judges will dismiss cases on her it is after all up to the judge to decide if he’s even going to sit and listen to her crap

  4. i think this behavior by one of our government ‘leaders’ is atrocious. this is what is really wrong with our country!

  5. Villains will lie. They will use every means at their disposal to deceive others. It is what they do. In that context, the statements of the head of the DEA are not surprising. What would be surprising would be if any single statement were true or had even a tiny grain of truth. I would expect about the same level of discourse from the head of one of the Mexican cartel gangs.

    It is surprising that the Democrats did not raise any objections, but they are scared for their political futures by the recent elections. The country will endure more suffering and financial loss due to stupidity and ignorance.

  6. I propose the reform community establish the “Prohibition Paparazzi.” This group could be responsible for a constant presence in the lives of high profile prohibitionists, like this Michelle Leonhart, for the sole purpose of exposing any moral imperfections. Imagine an army of marijuana reform reporters following Michelle around all day waiting for her to do something wrong. She leaves the bar after a few drinks… the Paparazzi gets pictures and issues a press release. Michelle slaps her kids… press release. Michelle is spotted getting her prescription drugs… press release. Michelle is spotted with a strange man… press release. Get the idea?

    It is time the reform community starts invading prohibitionists’ lives. We can bust these people and make their lives so miserable.

  7. I hate the smell of dumbass in the morning. Vice is part and parcel to human existance, and denying it is pointless. The will of the people will not be unheard.

  8. i dont understand how they say marijuana wont help the economy and stuff when they are unwilling to try it, we need less jagoffs in the government

  9. “Obama’s DEA Nominee Pledges To Ignore Administration’s Medical Marijuana Policy”

    I listened to the interview live and it sounded like a love fest. This appointment by Barry is an attempt to show the right that he’s tough on drugs and will give blow jobs to any republican that asks for one. Monica would have been proud. This is all on Barry. What a disappointment again.

  10. 2012 sounds like Palin is more on our sides as far as being able to smoke cannabis in our own home ,im votin her or Johnson from New Mexico anyone thts for it im votin .I really thought this is our country,land of the free,it should be called land of the fake. crooked gov.

  11. I’m tired of hearing about this anti pot BS. IF YOU DON’T LIKE WEED YOU DONT HAVE TO SMOKE IT – but if you do then you should be able to do so WITHOUT FEAR OF ARREST AND IMPRISONMENT its called FREEDOM. FREEDOM includes the right to do whatever the hell you like with your own body as long you are an adult and not harming anyone else. Instead of enforcement lets educate people about drugs so they know about the effects and can make an informed decision about whether or not to use them.

  12. I think this Senator Sessions is from Alabama and a “member” of the “law and Order” clan. The other Senators probably have reasons to fear Mr. Sessions.

    My opinion is that (Leonhart?) is taking talking points from Harry Anslinger which worked well for him, and continues to work to a befuddled government.

    To them Marijuana is as dangerous as Heroin because it’s a schedual 1 “drug”. Hence, they see it breaking up families and dangerous to society as a whole.

    The American Medical Association and the Veteran Affairs have indicated a reversal to their previous “philosophy” about Cannabis.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  13. wow what a douchebag, yet another idiot who thinks hes gonna get ahead by pushing marijuana down, man i hope he gets shot before he can ever be head of anything.

  14. Law breakers are law breakers no matter where they are or what position they hold. While they were throwing the bums out – it seems they missed one.

  15. I emailed my Senators about this issue, and of course they have done nothing (I’m looking at you, Dianne Feinstein! At least Barbara Boxer sent me a reply!). It’s truly sad how the DEA has become such a revered part of the US gov despite their abject failure at everything they do. They’d rubber-stamp anyone for that job.

  16. Newsflash: FDA has pulled Darvon/Darvocet off the U.S. market for risk of fatal heart rhythms. And they’ve been pushing that crap since 1957 for pain! Get real people. FREE THE WEED!! The natural god given herbal alternative you can grow in you friggin yard! CANNAPEACE

  17. So then the only ones to speak up (and kiss the ring) are the ones who are “SOFT ON CORRUPTION”.
    What a shock.

    Cant wait for the sex tapes on you-tube. They’re obviously hot 4 each other.

  18. haha! this happens when the so-called “change” president is at the office, hahaha, you americans have been cheated, BIG TIME.

  19. Good job not voting yes on prop 19 you greedy bastard growers and med patients.

    Prop19 wasnt perfect but the finer points could be re worked in a later legislation. Prop19 was ment to get a foot in the door and it was crafted in a way that the Federal laws were not in conflict and it would have stood up in the Supream court.

    Now that the DEA won that small fight, they are bringing the war to your co-op’ grows.

    You only thought of yourselves on Nov 2nd, and you shot yourselves in the foot in the process.

    Congrats, MORONS!!!

  20. I think obama could put everybody on medical marijuana instead of his health care.You know everyone should thank the DEA for destroying the pesky hemp plants cause they impregnate all the existing marijuana crops growing in the forest.

  21. I don’t believe anything they say anymore. Unless the Federal Government changes the law, anybody can still get busted. Period. Protect our amendments and protect our freedom.

    They just paid off the Amsterdam Govt to start making it illegal for Americans to go over there and hit the bong, Then this week when the Pacific Island declared Marijuana Legal, US is taking all money away that they are giving to them. Time magazine article, shows the FDA keeps trying to take it out of a Schedule 1. They have made it clear this time that it has medical value and needs to be studied. Wow, with all the medicines, antibacterial agent for MRSA, Hemp for rope, cures cancer, it seems like maybe there is another source behind the Obama Administration that is keeping it illegal; the same people who are sticking their hands in your pants you big Fn bullies. We are so on to you big brother, bring it on!

  22. Boycott all Prohibition Profiteers from 1/1/11 to 4/20/11.

    Stock up, share, learn to grow.

    Stop giving money to Black Market Cartels, Gangs, and their Police State sponsors.

    Unless it would severely affect your health, stop giving money the corrupted Gray Market Med-Pot industry.

    If you spend money – but do not make money – in the marijuana trade, stop. Stop funding this war against yourself.

    Keep using Cannabis if possible, but stop PAYING for it for as long as you can, starting with the NEW YEAR. What effect would a sizable drop in the money flow for for a whole quarter have on the business of selling pot?

    Why not find out? Would it get people’s attention? Would it inspire change?

    If at the same time you boycotted any legal substances you may also be using – alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, OTC or prescription drugs (within safety) – would it be even more effective?

    WE THE PEOPLE – the cannabis USERS – will only know if we’re serious about making it happen OURSELVES. The system is rigged … we’re in lockdown.

    YOUR power – your energy – is converted into money. You give your money (power) to the two sides fighting this war with guns … and we the people are caught in the middle with nothing but a PLANT. A plant that gives us health and happiness, but cannot give us victory. Not when the money used to purchase it is handed over to the Prohibition Profiteers, to pay for their armies, their propaganda, and their legal monopoly.

    Please join me in a pause for the cause!

    More to come …

  23. We don’t have many friends up there on capitol hill. Time to ask your elected officials point blank “do you support the legalization of cannabis?” and vote accordingly.

  24. United States wants to be like China in every way. It starts with mass obedience. The DEA will tell you what to believe or else lose your job, family, children, pets, money, property, hope, and freedom.
    And you think it is about marijuana!?
    It’s political cleansing.
    That is how it is done. Read your history!

  25. Sarah Palin for 2012.

    Sarah thinks its not a big deal to use in the privacy of your own home. She’s not your typical Republican/Democrat (elephant/donkey) clone. She enjoys life, she wants others to live in happiness, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

    If she changes her stance it will be a different story.

    Sarah you know where the votes to win 2012 are. They are right here within our constitutional rights. And not with arrogant prosecutions ruining peoples innocent lives at the expense of our tax dollars.

  26. Hitler rose to power by using his persuasive powers to attack the Jewish people. What some in our Govt appear to be doing seems very similar. They lie, then create an enemy (real or imagined; clearly imagined in the case of pot users), then they find ways to attack. Michele Leonhart seems to be at the forefront of this assault against otherwise good freedom loving Americans!

    One major thing we have, for now, in our favor is that it is ever more difficult for them to hide the truth because of the internet! This makes it hard for them to build up the giant base of support they need; but sadly, it seems that they are winning slowly but surely… We all need to remain ever-vigilant against the enemy of the people known as the DEA!

  27. So much for Obama changing anything. I’ll never believe in the word change again(or Obama). That goes for accountability and transparency too. These politicians have ruined a lot of words.

  28. The Problem with voting fascist war Obama out is you get triple fascist corporate war republicans. There is no way to win in the Usa. The choice is between corporate war fascist and corporate war fascists. We all need Canadian or Dutch spouses!

  29. Joel is right the DEA is and will use the power to control us. They want us to take piss teast to get or renul our driver lince. It is time to start fight back.Its time we start haveing mass proteting in the streets. war war war

  30. I was wondering if any body knows,Should a state wish to succeed from the federal union and no longer be under the control of the federal union,Could that succeeding state do as they wish?, even if the feds(union) do not wish to do it themselves.Would it be possible to form another union that actually dose make up its own rules and lives a democracy.where people do not buy people off with unethical intention.no one is forced to do time for smoking pot.Humans, not money will be put in charge.No one person or industry can own it.Medical infirmaries and homeopathic medicine will be the norm.We could take a good look at the advantages of natural medicine and explore its affordable use.Then we can sit back and watch all those who are opposed die off of curable diseases.

  31. Wow, America just keeps getting shittier and shittier. So I guess now our constitution doesn’t mean anything and state’s rights and laws mean nothing to los federales. For the people? Yeah right, keep spoon feeding America’s youth your bullshit and brain wash them into indoctrinated little Bush juniors. Sigh, what a stupid government we are slaves to.

  32. How about to protest being set up …we plan A passive response
    A NATIONAL WEEK LONG strike FROM OUR TAX PAYING JOBS,but instead of traveling and buying gas we all plan to stay home AND CAMP OUT IN OUR BACK YARD WITH OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS,we could do this in the summer,when it was warm.Maybe we need to remind cooperate america that the opinion of the masses makes a difference.imagine if nobody showed up to work for a week…those people in congress and on wall street would be lost,revenue would be lost too. who would serve their danish?It would only be effective if it were on a massive scale and 46 percent is pretty massive.If 50 private gas station owners stayed home from work and closed their doors would be effective in those districts.but I don’t know,It all seems pretty legal,but I wonder how effective it would be in ruffling feathers and making any difference.

  33. So Obama is supporting prohibition and in turn supporting organized crime.

    Nothing new our own government in with the criminals… lmao Excuse me, are the criminals…

  34. The solution is simple. VOTE OUT OBAMA. He’s proven to be the biggest waste of a vote and a hope. I voted for that man to lead sensibly and with respect to state rights. That’s it. I’m done defending him and I’m done voting for him. I hope those on this board make a hell of a fuss and make it clear to that turncoat in office that he won’t be back for a second term. This country is mirroring the fall of Rome and I for one hope to be long removed from the USA as soon as possible. Land of opportunity and justice my ass!

  35. Like much of President Obama’s first term, this is extremely disheartening and deeply disturbing. I can’t begin to fathom the endless buffeting of the political currents that he has to weather just to tread water let alone make true progress, and the Republicants and their extraordinarily skilled Right Wing Noise Machine are so adept at pure lies, distortions of all kinds, and manufacturing nonsensical ‘controversies’ out of thin air, that every uphill battle is increased in difficulty by a thousand-fold. I voted for him and I would gladly do it again not only on his own merits but as a most emphatic repudiation of the ‘Country First’ flip-flop King Clown John McCain who is responsible for unleashing that pathetic brainless talking point word salad Pez dispenser, Sarah ‘the perpetual victim’ Palin. I live in Arizona, so that crypt keeper clown is one of my two Senators, along with the ultra-right-wing Jon Kyl. Do you think there is any subject (including this one) that I can write my senators about that they would ever give half a shit about my thoughts or concerns as a constituent? Fuck no. They don’t care. They know what is right and they’re going to do whatever they want to. Taken along with my ridiculous Congressman, Jeff Flake, the retarded king of Quixotic tilting against earmarks that constitute a tiny fraction of one percent of annual spending, I have absolutely ZERO representation in the federal government. The only way I’m going to get any is if I move somewhere else. Finally, I’d just like to say to Wisconsin: fuck you, motherfuckers! Those jackasses just voted out one of the most stand-up progressives our country had, the now former Senator Russ Feingold. Learn to Swim. Learn to Swim. Learn to Swim.

  36. If the DEA were running American nuclear anti-proliferation policy, there could be a nuclear war going on and Michelle Leonhart would call it a signpost of our success at controlling proliferation, because so many nuclear weapons were being destroyed in the war.

  37. #96 – You are an idiot sir. This is EXACTLY how the Republicrats want you to feel. You buy this faux partisan hackery so you keep on voting for the Dems, then blame all of their failing on the republicans. RIIIIGHT, it was the republicans who nominated Leonhart. It was the republicans who who tripled our troop presence in Afghanistan. It was the republicans who made Obama come out in favor of the TSA full body scanners. It was the republicans who made Obama INCREASE the pentagon budget PAST Bush levels. It was the republicans who are making Obama pledge to keep us in Afghanistan past 2014.

    Get a clue. There is not one lick of a difference between republicans and democrats. They as a whole orchestrate these faux partisan quarrels while they are in bed with each other behind closed doors, to keep idiots like you keep on voting for the mainstream D’s or R’s, keeping them both in power.

  38. A 12yo can go to a 7-11, and buy a COCAINE derivative preparation,(ORA-GEL), meant for use by INFANTS for teething pain. A dying CANCER patient has to live in constant fear of MIDNIGHT RAIDS,ARREST,and DEADLY HOME INVASION ROBBERIES , for their LEGAL use of MEDICAL CANNABIS.
    And why does the DEA still consider INDUSTRIAL HEMP as a “SCHEDULE 1 NARCOTIC?

  39. Wow! Obama really knows how to piss off the base who elected him to president. I guess I will not be voting for anyone next time, as I can see with this pathetic administration that it does not matter who you vote for in this country.

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