Senate Judiciary Committee blocks Leonhart nomination to head DEA

As NORML has warned, President Obama has nominated Michele Leonhart to head the Drug Enforcement Administration. Leonhart has been serving as Acting DEA Administrator since her appointment by the Bush Administration. Now during confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) has placed a hold on the nomination.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Sen. Kohl was upset about DEA restrictions on how nursing homes are allowed to dispense pain medications to elderly patients. New regulations intended to stem the diversion of addictive painkillers to the underground market would require nursing homes to have doctors, not nurses or other staff, to dispense medications like Oxycontin and Vicodin. The economic realities of the nursing home market do not allow these facilities to always have the necessary doctors on staff, leading to long wait times, under-treatment of pain, and suffering for elderly patients in pain.

Sen. Kohl placed the hold, an privilege of senators that prevents Leonhart’s nomination from proceeding to the full Senate, “until we have made more progress towards our goal of ensuring that nursing home residents get timely access to the prescription drug care they need,” said Kohl. “Every day nursing home patients continue to suffer from agonizing pain and we need an interim solution as soon as possible.”

NORML applauds any reason to prevent Leonhart from assuming the role of DEA Administrator.  However, we hope Sen. Kohl and the remainder of the Judiciary Committee also consider the nominee’s positions on medical marijuana and the Mexican Drug War as further indications she is unfit for the position.

If Sen. Kohl is concerned about nursing home patients continuing to suffer in agonizing pain, then Leonhart’s opposition to the fifteen states that provide medical marijuana to elderly patients should also be of concern.  As Acting Administrator, Leonhart has green-lighted at least thirty raids of medical marijuana dispensaries.  These raids run contrary to the directive of her boss, Attorney General Holder, who specified that scarce federal law enforcement resources should not be expended on medical marijuana operations running lawfully under state laws.  The medical marijuana from these dispensaries has been shown to relieve neuropathic pain as well as stave off the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and lessen the effects of arthritis – all beneficial for the elderly nursing home community.

All members of the committee should be wary of Leonhart’s views of the rapidly destabilizing Mexican state due to the drug war.  Just today the WikiLeaks dump of foreign diplomatic cables reveals a Mexican drug war plan that “lacks a clear strategy” and “suffers from infighting among security agencies” according to the Washington Post.  The leaks have insiders calling the $1.4 billion “Merida Initiative” of aid to Mexico “ill-conceived and doing little so far to fight drug traffickers.”

Yet Acting Administrator Leonhart, when questioned about the now 31,000 Mexicans now dead in the drug-trafficking wars since 2006, said “Our view is that the violence we have been seeing is a signpost of the success our very courageous Mexican counterparts are having. The cartels are acting out like caged animals, because they are caged animals.”  Where WikiLeaks reveals American and Mexican officials secretly doubting the effectiveness of our $1.4 billion strategy, Leonhart is selling it lock, stock, and barrel to the taxpayers.

Of further concern in the Leonhart nomination to head the DEA is her opposition to the science on cannabis.  She has refused to act on an eight-year-old petition supported by NORML to reschedule cannabis out of Schedule I where it is deemed to have “no medicinal value”; this is inexcusable stonewalling in the face of fifteen US states that recognize cannabis’ medicinal value, the calls from the American Medical Association for its rescheduling, and the federal government’s own patent on the medicinal properties of cannabinoids.  Leonhart has even refused to heed the declaration of a DEA judge in the petition of Professor Lyle Craker, whom the judge said should be allowed to grow cannabis for scientific research.

You can still write or call your Senator about Ms. Leonhart’s nomination process – to do so click here and here.  Tell your Senator to support Sen. Kohl’s opposition to Michele Leonhart for DEA Administrator and demand President Obama nominate an administrator who will be open-minded on the science of medical marijuana and willing to reasonably discuss the end of the drug war altogether.

61 thoughts

  1. The schedule I lie makes it nearly impossible for those in nursing homes to get medicinal cannabis when it is allowed under state law, due to federal-state overlaps in the rules governing such places. That is an equally, if not more, horrific situation compared to the opioids issue where, at least, a pathway exists for its use

  2. i wouldbe willign to do various, and allow her to do various things to me, if it meant legalized marijuana 😛

  3. Good more states need to do this, Good for you Wisconsin,its clear that science has proven its good for everyone for anything.Dr’s will say its a very good stress reliever.Legalize 2012 Palin Or Johnson

  4. Ultimately our society will be judged on how we care for our young and aged…I thought somebody famous and considered smart already said something like that really poetically and succinctly, hmmmmm

  5. I’ve got a solution for everyone! Forget the dangerous narcotics and legalize cannabis! The elderly would benefit the significantly from medical pot’s benefits anyways. They would also be able to function a lot more on pot than on those highly addictive pills. As always, prohibition helps strip the glue of trust that holds this already trust-less society together. F**king government. This isn’t what we all agreed to in 1776!!!

  6. She needs to be stopped for good. I hope one day she goes into a nursing home. If the patients in the nursing homes needs their medicines to function whether it be habit forming or not, then so be it. Everbody write your letter.

  7. I hope she gets so pissed she over doses on her Zanex.
    How much happiness can a person experience in one lifetime?

  8. I am very disappointed that only one senator spoke up against her. I wrote my senators as I’m sure others did in other states but we were apparently ignored – again… Perhaps, if every one of them were to be issued, free of charge, a copy of Paul Armentano’s wonderful book about why marijuana is safer, it could change their attitudes if they actually read it.

  9. Lowering to a schedule#2 will only open sublingual sprays like satevex and bayer. Leaving Hemp, RxGanja and Ganja outlawed. Prohibition is a lie agreed upon. Why perpetuate it or ConPromise on truth?

    There is No legitimate excuse… That brings us to the dilemma of knowingly paying these anti-American DEAth squads salaries. Knowing full well their attitudes towards abusing citizens rights. Knowing they also know or at least have access to know the truth and yet continue the daily terror campaign. Leaving vulnerable sick people stressed out before they can even treat their illness. How low can they go? Those in the corporate world knowing first hand how lethal Ganja isn’t.

    Yet lobbying Congress for more ways to pisstaste and humiliate those who would free the weed. To denigrate us out of existence. A systematic approach to maintaining a pool of uneducated cheap labor. Either denied tuition assistance because of past busts or straight to the prison industry jobs telemarketing.

    To know when you wake up that you will ruin someone’s life today over some bogus pretense of helping them? Those we elect to govern our interests are not governing well, if at all. If anyone has access to the truth one would think or hope it would be the Congress, the President and the Supreme Court. Instead we end up with inept lackey’s or illiterate mute fools concerning the Ganjawar. Turning siblings into snitches, forfeit the home, confiscate the car, furniture and whatever Christmas gifts laying around. Parents in jail or out on bail. Fired from work. Good job kid, Merry Christmas.

  10. Somebody posted a comment saying, come on guys say you want to get high but dont speak about medicinal value of cannabis…
    I wonder how somebody can be so hard and so arrogant with his fellow citizens.. how somebody who never had experienced some natural cure has the courage to go out and condemn it in favor of the chemicals..

    The reason of my comment is to ask everybody to expand the list of the deserving to be concidered medical cannabis patiens..
    everywhere I read about the people with chronic pain, with nausea, with cancer, with aids, with glaucoma etc..
    There is though a group of people, a very big group that no one mentiones .. this is the group of the addicted to drugs people.. these people are usually ex cannabis consumers who had to pass to dangerous drugs because for a long time the prohibition made it impossible to find some herb.. it’s not a gateway drug but someone who eases his pain with herb will probably use something strong and dangerous if he cannot find some herb for a long time..
    these people will get rid of the needle and the hard drugs if they have the help of cannabis and they deserve to be left free to try to save themselves..
    no.. it’s not methadone the cure for heroin addiction.. that’s another chemical stuff and our children will no be experiment animals.. the cure is nature.. it’s cannabis but some are not willing to admit that they are wrong all the way..
    So one of the most important conditions along with the others is the drug addiction..
    when a drug addict goes to ask for a patient permit he or she is not an aids or cancer or else patient so they talk about chronic pain..
    Lets be more sweet and understanding with others..
    there is so much pain in the world.. there is so much phsysic pain.. so much suffering… we are in the 21 st century.. tactics of the middle age are not what we need..

  11. I wrote to my senators, Cantwell and Murray and received non-committal replies that they take their confirmation responsibility seriously. But apparently not seriously enough as there was no indication they would do anything but salute marijuana warrior Leonhart.

  12. Schedule 1 is diffenantly a lie, I agree 100% with Sunil A. This whole drug war thing has been one big disaster. Millions upon millions of people are dying and being thrown in prison for A PLANT! ITS A PLANT!!! A plant that MAN DIDN’T GROW, MOTHER NATURE GREW IT. What is wrong with people? Do they think their higher in the food chain? The ones who are in control of everything? I wish they would stop ignoring and putting aside the the facts of the value of cannabis.

  13. Next time I think when someone trys to speak against cannabis, just interrupt them everytime and yell in their face, PLANT!! PLANT!!!! ITS A PLANT!!! When someone starts to say that it is a gateway drug just yell out “PLANT!!” “Oh its a..” “PLANT!!”

  14. That is only part of the lie. People all over in severe pain must literally fight to get the relief they deserve; whilst abusers of pills sometimes take a dozen or more opiate-based pills a day. The average person in need gets a prescription that is only valid for several days: the average addict takes several days’ pills at once. There is no way these pills are all being diverted from people’s legitimate prescriptions: over 80% of these pills are not obtained in this manner, yet the drug companies are already paid, have already washed their hands of it, and don’t care while thousands of Americans’ suffer. Go Drug War!

  15. As someone who has grandparents in a nursing home, I am disturbed by her proposal that would inevitably limit pain relief to a population that is in most need of pain relief and that often does not have the voice to speak for themselves.

    Obama’s support for her is troubling, but I’m glad another Democrat is brave enough to step forward and oppose the president on this.

  16. Hoorway for some transparency. Wikileaks may help show these politcal pigs for what they are. What the heck happened to obamas big spiel for real change. All you younng people hope you remember his BS.

  17. So that’s what the [insert your favorite explicative] looks like. I know that drug czars are legally obliged to vehemently oppose any legalization of any illegal drug, but I guess my question is do DEA administrators have the same obligation? Is a scientifically open-minded administrator even possible?

  18. This lady must be stopped in her tracks and not allowed to move forward. I have written Senator Kohl persononally and have asked him to not longer support her confirmation. I plan to write the 111th Congress as well. Wish me luck!

  19. Leonhart is a joke, like ALL other DEA heads. However, I believe that NORML and the cannabis community have no idea how bad it really is in Mexico.

    A website called “The Narcosphere,” is a valuable asset to anyone interested in this topic.

    Here’s the thing about drug aid money to Mexico. It is used by the PRESIDENT to eliminate rival drug organizations. Hence, the majority of Mexican drug violence is a direct consequence of American aid money.

    Each Mexican President, it doesn’t matter who that may be, ALWAYS has their FAVORITE cartel. Once elected the Mexican President uses the Mexican military to take out his rivals. Mexico is a totally corrupt NARCO state and aid money is directly used to commit violence like homicide, rape, kidnapping, etc..

    For example, under President Vincente Fox, in 2000-to-2006, over 160,000 Mexican military troops were charged with civil criminal acts in support of removing Fox’s gang rivals.

    Our media always portrays this as cartel versus cartel violence, which it is, but the role of Mexico’s highest political office is usually well-hidden.

    Think I’m talking b.s.? Then you need to follow the Narocosphere on a regular basis. This English/Spanish website is the best resource on the border drug war I’ve found.

    And, oh yeah, we’re supposed to believe all that corruption stops on the Mexican side of the border. The war on drugs is a way for governments to use illegal profits for projects and plans that are kept secret from the people.

    In other words, the drug war is the opposite of democracy.

  20. as I understand this tragic story, if you inhale the fumes of cannabis, you are bound to madness, hell and the deepest perdition, rest assured, many great people have inhaled.

  21. i hope this bitch is permenantly blocked and that put in jail for directly causing suffering to a good number of americans

  22. Thomas Jefferson swore by it on a daily bases.I was real upset to read about New Jersey’s decision to cap the thc content in medical cannabis.
    Re:”but an unusual potency cap would remain. Christie, a Republican, predicted his approach could become a model for other states.”
    BS Lets pray his prediction is off about by ten miles to the right.
    We all certainly hope his ideas do not become used even in New Jersey, let alone other states ,because a cap on the THC is like providing a drug that will not cure nor heal AND IS LIKELY NOT TO WORK AT ALL .This is what Christie obviously wants.He obviously wants it to not work so he can say it doesn’t work.This is like offering a person a pain killer with out the pain killer in it.Basically it will be a placebo.HE WANTS TO BE ABLE TO SAY HE GAVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANTED BUT IT IS A FARCE,A LIE ,AND A DECEPTION .HE WANTS IT NOT TO WORK.It is as obvious as the evil smile on his wicked face.Don’t buy it, wait till someone else gets into office and vote this guy out as fast as possible.
    RE:all medical marijuana patients to show that they had exhausted conventional treatment options before getting legal access to pot.
    This crack pot wants people to remain on pharmaceutics and expensive surgery…Is this guy even human?He has obviously been purchased by the pharmaceutical companies ,who do not want it to work either.I say you New Jersey people need to can this guy and find a new guy to take his place as soon as possible .
    Yup.It looks like sick people will have to continue to go to drug dealers to get medical cannabis .The last thing this country needs is for big chemical and government to get hold of cannabis and add all kinds of chemicals into it.then wring it clean of the only effective substance in it.This is what happened when big government started controlling tobacco .I would not sign any thing in to any law that prohibits its use in its natural state and taking the main ingredient out of it .you ,Might as well keep it illegal and just let sick people get it from some one else who they can actually trust.Because this guy is a nut case if he thinks this is going to work.

  23. I personally despise Leonhard, she’s a stupid bitch ! Everyone should write their reps. to get rid of morons like her and their policies.

  24. Hmmm. This is a war on American pot smokers. In a war both sides shoot to kill. Have I missed something?

  25. She’s not qualified to clean toilets in truck stops.

    The good news is that if she’s not confirmed by the first of the year Obama would have to re-nominate her. Start sending letters to the White House now!

  26. Instead of preaching to the choir here, we all need to copy this article and email it to our Senators, I will do it ASAP.

  27. It is a good sign that there is at least one person in the Senate Judiciary Committee who listens and was aware of the facts behind the irresponsible and cruel activities of Michele Leonhart. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) isn’t stupid.

  28. I would not waste my postage expenses writing to the lame 1st Negro President. It is obvious that his promise for change has dissolved, as The USA spirals into higher un-employment, inflation, yet our elected folks consider another drug czar.

    In my opinion, The DEAgency should be dissolved.

    A complete waste of taxpayer money.

    Send the DEA to Afghanistan, I promised to send you a Christmas Card.

    Amazing Grace

  29. The DEA is a poorly run and completely unnecessary government jobs program. It serves no legitimate purpose, and should be dismantled. The DEA is a terrorist organization working for the US government against US citizens.

  30. And on top of everything else…SHE’S UGLY AS SIN!

    Pull out the phony ‘war on (some) drugs’ with cannabis and their entire house of cards comes crashing down.

    And I’m sure the Federal Reserve is interested in keeping this cash cow prohibited.

  31. The Founding Fathers intentionally left the federal government without a police force. The ‘War on (some) drugs’ was the key to dismantling the Constitution.

  32. Where is the lawyer that wants the case of the century or the reporter to deliver the story of the century? Do any of these high judges know the truth about this plant from hemp to pot and if they do why don’t they stand and say stop? The law is the crime. Don’t tell me there isn’t enough evidence. Thy do not have even one body. Being denied this plant is an unbearable condition in every shape and form to the Republic. You can answer almost every news report with one word, Hemp. Refffeeerr Maaddneeess.

  33. AND we should keep creating new laws. I purpose new laws… pornography laws. It’s destructive and corrupting our youth!

    Possession of any pornography (Misdemeanor, up to a year in jail or prison)

    Possession with intent to sell / distribute pornography (Felony, 2 years mandatory minimum, up to 5 years)

    Possession with intent to sell 500 or more magazines, movies, pictures, etc. (Felony, 5 years mandatory minimum, up to life)

    THIS IS CRAZY PEOPLE WAKE UP

  34. Forgot manufacturing laws too…

    Pornography manufacture (evidence may include expensivecameras, lingerie, females with a lot of cash, Blank DVD’s, Blank magazines, Magazine processing equipment etc.) Carries 1-5 years for small-time manufacture… Carries 10 years mandatory minimum for large-scale clandestine manufacture.

    WAKE UP PEOPLE THIS IS JUST AS CRAZY

  35. I find it incrediblely funny/nieve that you guys at NORML still Actually think A.G. Eric Holder actually meant what he said….much less, back up his words.
    And as far as I remember it…..that’s all it was–WORDS—nothing official, with a U.S. gov’t. NOTERY seal was ever signed or even put into the paperwork process up there in rotten ol’ D.C………….O’ wait!! That’s right…a memo was sent out. I guess you guys think the DEA is shaking in their boots over a fookin'(btw I intentionally mispelled that..) unofficial memo. I’m all for legalization; but let’s be real about things, now.??

  36. i support medical mjana but I work in a nursing home and to think that kohl would support the blockage of this is a good sign with limits to medicare for elderly facilties are are already understaffed for care and elderly are neglected to add a phisican to a facility would be equivelent to NOW 15 people careing for 110 resident to prolly 7 people to do the same job to afford it UNREALISTIC and i support kohl on this~!

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