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. I voted for President Obama, but never again. As much as I hated Bush, you knew what you were getting. President Obama is incredibly two faced.. He pledged transparency and change, yet he stood up yesterday and told all of us that we must submit to the TSA while his family gets special treatment and will never receive a pat down or ionizing radiation screening. He promised us change and transparency when it comes to foreign policy, and all we got was more war and more secrecy.

    He promised sensible consideration and promised change when it comes to medical marijuana and the drug war. LIES.

    Never again President Obama.

  2. Yea, that CS lewis quote about Robber Barons being better leaders than those who torment us for our OWN good… keeps coming back.

    Hell, if Palin WAS in charge… I’m starting to suspect it might be easier to just choose an idiot and trick them, than deal with a know-nothing know-it-all.

    Fuckin wierd times.

  3. It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. Voltaire

    The rule of law has been subverted and has become the law of rule.
    Those that rule the law will become zealots, jingoes, and hypocrites.
    Raymond DiPasquale

    The measures you favor are the major source of the evils you deplore.
    Milton Freidman

    Beware when the righteous prepare for the practice of evil.
    — Kenneth Patchen

  4. To whom it may concern -or- not concern.

    Americans refuse to recognize government as a “just government with an unjust and inhumane law.” The American Policy negates compelling or competing governmental interests insofar as medicinal application is concerned.

    February 9, 2009 Barack Obama
    The President believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind.

    Michele Leonart absolutely [does not] fit that description of leadership. Neither does her continued waste of federal resources on enforcement emphasis and police state tactics, best described as belligerent action, reduce government’s wastful spending. Her total disregard for direct orders, and her non-compliance of same, is ludacrous, unacceptable, and demonstrates her total lack of integrity called for by her suprior [insabordination].

    So! I’m forced to ask – “Who the hell is running this dog and pony show?” A lawbreaker – no matter who, what, where, when or why – is a lawbreaker! If I were to practice preventative medicine – I would prevent Michele Leonart from being anywhere near California’s sovereign right to control a legal medicine in the state. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that – “cannabis is as legal as any drug.”

  5. It seems that Ms. Leonhart is doing what is best for her own career rather that the American people. Secondly, Marijauna has ruined no families that I know, but state prosecution for it’s use sure has.She is using broad generalities because she has no evidence or even an anecdote. I could say that money has ruined families but we wouldn’t go back to trading beads for shells would we? I’ll wager there’s a pharmeceutical company lining in the pockets of her dress suit.

  6. 106 Naga Sadhu

    You’ve got it reversed! Leonart, Obama, Sessions, and the DOJ are the unwanted weeds. The dangerous weed that they refer to is “The most nutritious plant [food]known to man – and – its medicinal properties and applications are equally as great. These pot-phobic prohibs just don’t know their plants from a hole in the ground. Say a prayer for them – because – they really, really need one. They really do!

  7. 107 Luke

    Save your seeds – you’ll need them to grow food when the time comes. God and pot will be the world’s salvation.

  8. I can agree “ma rijua na” was not the legal phrase DEA
    did have an old BON State Dept affected reason to be a
    “War on Crime” [Drugs] provider of former prohibit-ion
    and I don’t agree “Republican Title of Control to Ban:
    Common Canna[Ma] and Republic Use of Prohibit Funding”
    uh anyway ,. I don’t agree the Republic Foreign Advise
    run our country ., so why would they run the US Policy
    on Drug and Danger[ous] Quality of Supply” ./. Cartel,
    Violence was , my opinion , promoted by Republic impos
    [means imposters with Fake Exec] and the clone of thot
    (the facsimile of thought : regulation) was not proper.

  9. Gotta love the fake “disillusioned Obama voters” switching to SP. LOL! Just imagine, for a moment, what will constitute thought crime under a Palin kleptocracy. If you think Dick Cheney thinks (ok, knows) he’s above the law… But the other Joel is on the right track: The China model is the neocon wet dream for America: A small super-rich, overclass controlling a mostly symbolic government with an opaque bureaucracy, a politicized and capriciously enforced legal system (unchallenged by a lap-dog media) in the glorious pursuit of “free markets”. All we need is a thin-skinned megalomaniac with a avid following of dim-wit know-nothings and we can have our very own Cultural Revolution. Oh, wait!

  10. Regarding the current liberalization of many state (but not Federal) marijuana laws: “IT’S A TRAP!”

    There. I said it.

  11. Hi again. Cannabis is not a drug. The Federal Medicinal
    Cannabis Program will allow leniency toward new regional
    rather than State by State medmana laws ., I am cannabis
    activist with a small office at Eastern Kansas [NORML] 🙂
    and I want Leonhart to realize not all “ma rijua na” and
    medicinal plant users are on ,. nor want “drugs”. Games
    [actual role playing games] show us basic ‘alignment’ is
    the basis [Good] [Neutral] [Evil] :: Common dishearten
    ~ing activists are not so Good ., more likely to want uh
    street drugs and more likely to try ‘hard drugs’ . . . .
    What are you ? Will you respect Obama. He does his best.

  12. This woman stands for everything that is wrong with MMJ policy. Leonhart is the product of 80 years of brainwashing, it is unfortunate that there’s no chance of an intelligent thought popping into that tiny brain of hers.

  13. We need to do something serious to stop this madness against the people. We need a revolution. I’ve never seen such proof of that then what I’m seeing right here. Its time the american people stop taking this abuse.

  14. Obama has to go. He is not the person we thought he was. Change my ass. He is just another shill, and yes, I voted for him. He refers to marijuana activists as “internet trolls”. I get it. Lame Duck.

  15. OK. Lame Duck session means the Republican vote to now
    suspend the rules and pass . a bill or amendment will
    be the ruling both parties of both legislatures agree
    with money oriented voting ., the concedence of the
    party en voting standard to show the Republic false
    domain with a dominion wanting new Intl Monetary Fund
    [IMF] will not !! allow the new improper IMF : Climate
    Problem and Disaster Relief Money Available to Begin
    Republic[en] Promise the Funding will be Given to the
    Thought of Global Warming Saved. .. will not be wanted
    with the Tea Party constituents on Republican ‘ticket’
    now wanting new accord to Concede National Legislature
    rather than allow new Republic[en] Laundering of newer
    money they want to fund FEMA Disaster , Global Warming
    and continued [next administration falsley] embezzle a
    continued wartime fund to realize the Tea Party was in
    the midst of catching the Republic embezzle foundation
    and now allow a beginning vote after midterm elections
    to NOT allow Climate Problem and Suspended Rules Anew
    Reason will be : “stopping the vote debate means now
    stopping the embezzled funding” , “stopping the [nerd]
    debate {giving up on “the rope” ,. OK you win} means a
    lack of Republican bi-partisan “struggle” funding so..
    the “we give in you win this one” attitude was in ways
    it will Concede the Republic ., and disavow the ten yr
    [year] measure to now disallow ‘Suspenpol’ so it won’t
    allow IMF Choice by Foreign Effect Republic.. thereby,
    Lame Duck .. actual Democracy won’t play “javelin toss”
    with a Lame Duck Republic noted as : “Throwing the new
    session with improper Republic[en] Purchase”, So There.

    My opinion , stop telling off Obama.. he’s Awesome . .
    Look for a better beginning the week Monday after Dec.
    11th. You will be happier without ‘drug complaint’ !!

    Thanks, not trying to rile up.. Try watching C~SPAN ..

  16. On , this so called women Leonhart, for DEA, NO,NO,NO!Hell no!
    Obama has lost his mind !!!!!!!!! What a sad state of affairs we have ,when the only person we have is a so called cannabis hater. We no not want or need this woman in OUR goverment. Why can’t we vote on this and alot of other things .We should know alot more on what is happening in our goverment. But everything is such a big secert! The left hand, dosen’t know what the right hand is doing.

  17. The reason why those against have the upper hand is because people who have steady jobs with the government are afraid of reprisal for speaking out against the travesty that is happening right before our eyes. Marijuana is illegal because it destroys young peoples lives? Please…What about alcohol? what about Oxycontin or Ritalin? What about tobacco products? These people that are being put into these powerful positions are all just puppets that have NO CLOUT and absolutely NO BUSINESS in those high ranked positions. I am ashamed of the system. Proud of America, but ashamed of the DEA position on moving forward. This is preposterous!

  18. This just goes to show you what years and years of propaganda will do to the state of a nation.
    Use a gun to kill for your country it honorable
    use a gun to protect yourself its self defense
    use a gun to harm someone its a crime.
    use marijuana responsibily or for medicinal benefit and your a criminal. Who even knows what to believe anymore????

    “In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble”

  19. she can`t just go and ignore that shit….legalization is the way to go…if you think it`s not then you are simply ignorant and can go to hell. kthx

  20. What the fuck is wrong with Obama? He pledged change but lately he’s been completely caving in to the right, especially by trying to nominate a DEA head who favors the same draconian drug war policies as the bush administration. Apparently the word change doesn’t mean shit in America any more.

  21. MoFoCancer website is in support and a full paying Normal member! I hate it when the DEA blabs this and that Till the see and know others with cancer they will never know!
    Real works of art! Our police and DEA’s Till you get cancer then its another story!

    Support Normal help them!

    I WILL FIGHT MY GOVERNMENT TIL THE DAY I DIE!!
    MofoCancer.com

  22. All the government is shit and everyone in it is a cunt!
    Fuck these people! All politicians suck the devil’s dick in hell!

  23. Don’t worry. A politicians pledge IS NOT a promise. More like a lie you’re supposed to believe until their actions prove they’re lying. They don’t make ‘promises’, but pledges. Fine line, I know, but ask any politician. They obviously know the difference.

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