Bush Holdover Unanimously Confirmed To Head U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

[Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory.]

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Michelle Leonhart by unanimous consent to head the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Miss Leonhart had served as interim director of the agency since November 2007. President Barack Obama had nominated Leonhart in February to serve as the agency’s director.

Numerous drug policy reform organizations, including NORML, had opposed Leonhart’s confirmation – arguing that her actions as interim DEA administrator were contrary to the Obama administration’s pledge to allow science, rather than rhetoric and ideology, guide public policy.

For example, Ms. Leonhart oversaw dozens of federal raids on medical marijuana providers and producers. These actions took place in states that have enacted laws allowing for the use and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes, and are inconsistent with an October 19, 2009 Department of Justice memo recommending federal officials no longer “focus … resources … on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”
Miss Leonhart also blocked scientific research that sought to better identify and quantify marijuana’s medicinal properties and efficacy. In particular, Ms. Leonhart neglected to reply to an eight-year-old petition calling for administrative hearings regarding the rescheduling marijuana for medical use. Such hearings were called for in 2009 by the American Medical Association, which resolved “that marijuana’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines.” Moreover, in January 2009, Ms. Leonhart refused to issue a license to the University of Massachusetts for the purpose of cultivating marijuana for FDA-approved research, despite a DEA administrative law judge’s ruling that it would be “in the public interest” to grant this request.

Finally, Ms. Leonhart has exhibited questionable judgment when speaking about the subject of escalating drug war violence in Mexico. In 2009, she described this border violence — which is responsible for over 31,000 deaths since December 2006 — as a sign of the “success” of her agency’s anti-drug strategies.

Commenting on Ms. Leonhart’s confirmation, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said, “Ms. Leonhart’s actions and ambitions are incompatible with state law, public opinion, and with the policies of this administration. It is unlikely that we will see any serious change in direction of the DEA under Ms. Leonhart’s leadership.”

In December, Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl had placed a hold on Ms. Leonhart’s nomination. Senator Kohl dropped his hold on December 22, and the Senate unanimously confirmed Leonhart’s nomination the following day.

127 thoughts

  1. We have to all question Obama’s motives in nominating her for the DEA….AGAIN.
    What happened? Obama was all for change. This does not change anything except more murders than ever now and more crackdowns on Medical MJ Clinics and smokers. This is not what America wants!!!!
    Why should we have to put up with such nonsense? Our freedoms are being taken away one at a time. I can say, “WAKE UP PEOPLE and SMELL the DECEPTION”

  2. Obama should be raking her over the coals for disobeying a direct order – arrogant insubordination, not re-appoint her against the will of the people. Damn!!! Same old shit different day!!! Guess we will just have to reiterate our point in 2012 like we did in November. Good luck to all who confirmed her. Your name is Mudd, and your political career is grass. Is the message received? – “Grass turned your politcal career to grass.”

  3. who ever is in office at the time new legislation, or changes in policy take place ,shouldn’t the heads of the departments and agencies be informed of the new changes and run their department accordingly, we should write to Obama and tell him to instruct Michelle Leonhart to run the DEA in accordance with what he promised. after all he could say I,m keeping you as the head of the dept. however this is what I want to accomplish and this is the way I want you to run this Department or agency. I would think that would be part of his job. and by the way get us the hell out of the middle east.Use hemp oil.

  4. Mark, One of the first Holder did was, he ordered the haulting the raids on pot shops in California. I would not be on this site if I were against legalizing marijuana. I would be very medicated on sweet Mary Jane!! Thankfully the I live in is going medical.

  5. The DEA insignia looks very similar to Obama’s campaign insignia, not surprisingly.
    What a farce. And now a JP Morgan Exec for chief of staff? This guy is spitting in the face of his supporters.
    3rd party in 2012.

  6. If you can’t take the government to the mountain [then] you take the mountain to the government. But – before we do that – “every state” must have a Compassionate Use Act. We are only a third of the way there, with another third waiting in the wings. Before we can do that – cannabis must be re-scheduled as a scheduled III substance. When these two things have been accomplished, the mountain will be more easily transported to D.C. We must pay severe attention to these two objectives. Dedicate one’s self to this agenda.

  7. The DEA is a revulsion, a disease in The American Tapestry.
    Let us have a group prayer, Ms. Leonhart in some bad dream your heart stops.
    Some say she passed through the Vail in her sleep.

  8. i bet $420 million we will get another awful president to choose from. know why? because that other candidate will be chosen FOR us.
    it is no coincidence that every pair of presidential candidates either sucks, or goes back on every promise they ever made.
    getting rid of the dumbass we have now will only bring a new dumbass. why? because until we change our “democratic” system, history will repeat itself. again and again and again.

  9. Mellissa – that was all a show. The proof of his character is in his threat to arrest people who are doing something LEGAL, something the people would have voted for. Thats what Hitler would do. Or Stalin. Or Amin. Or Sadaam.

  10. NO.41-The INQUISITION went from religion to MARIJUANA PROHIBITION. Back in the old days if you were not with the program you were persecuted by religious stupidity. Now it is the MARIJUANA users and FEDERAL LAW stupidity enforcement, one person every 37 seconds being arrested and persecuted for a plant created by nature. The DEA breaks down your door, shoots your dog and intimidates people with weapons of mass destruction and ruins families over a little bud. Some type of law enforcement we have it’s more like TERRORISM. I guess i read between the lines more other people do, but i am not the only one. Ask the other 20 million plus that question over the years. When will the DRUG WAR INSANITY END? Our government complains about human rights in other countries, but they should look in our own back yard on what they are doing to us. Thats okay though their the FEDS and MODERN DAY INQUISITORS OF THE 21ST CENTURY.

  11. TOken Right Now, Wooo, And I’m totally protected Under The 1st Amendment, I don’t care what the government has to say because they have no control over my actions. If I wanna smoke ganja I will. If they throw me in jail for it, they just made me a criminal, might as well start acting like one, because I won’t be able to get a job with that on my record. I love the land, I hate the Greedy S*it Heads who run it. this cu*t needs to take that bloody old rag out of here cu*t and put in a fresh one, maybe then she won’t be such a b*tch.

  12. By their deeds and actions they will be recognized,.

    Some folks clap and sing about Jesus, I wonder
    What did Jesus see, from the top of that cross, and what was the depth of his mothers tears.
    I do not need a drug agent on my shoulder, Looking for a spiritual partner to share the mysteries

  13. Now that this stupid sow has turned down a hearing re:the proper scheduling of cannabis we cam all turn and point the finger of accusation at Barack obama. And Eric holder.the stump dumb Leonhart was responsible for the federal prosecution of Tommy Chong.When. I saw that put “progressive” prez Obama put the in as head of DEA,I knew we had been hornswoggled.The decision by this dumb dog Leonhart is the final nail on the coffin of Obama’s re-election for me.This is the last straw.I would be careful,all you who have registered on your state for medical cannabis.What better way do the Feds have in rounding up cannabis users?Especially now that Obama’s admin has reversed it’s prev “hands off” approach to states with medical cannabis programs.

  14. Gosh, if the Holy Catholic Church makes its living off of Earth as center of the Universe, what makes you think they’ll entertain any variance from the Law of The Lord Thy God.

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