Feds Say Leonhart is ‘Right Choice’ for DEA, Despite Widespread Calls for Her Withdrawal

One month after MPP and an ideologically diverse coalition of drug policy reformers and advocacy groups called on President Obama to withdraw Michele Leonhart as his nominee for DEA administrator, a spokesperson for the White House has declared that the president is confident that the Bush holdover is the “right” choice for the job.

Mike Riggs has the story in The Daily Caller:

Obama is confident that Leonhart is the right choice, the White House staffer said, and that as of Friday the president wasn’t considering anyone else for the position. In other words, the response from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to a chorus of concerns boils down to: Leonhart or bust.

MPP and others – including FireDogLake’s Jane Hamsher and the states-rights group the Tenth Amendment Center – pointed to Leonhart’s interim leadership of the DEA, which has included federal raids on state-legal medical marijuana providers and the denial of medical marijuana research applications, as evidence that she is continuing Bush-era policies that Obama promised to end. During the campaign, and in an October memo from the Department of Justice, the president and his administration pledged to end federal raids on state-legal medical marijuana providers.

But when Riggs asked the feds whether recent raids in California violate the spirit of the October memo, spokespeople for both the White House and DOJ seemed to backtrack on the president’s pledge.

But the White House and the Justice Department both told TheDC that Holder’s memo does not give dispensaries carte blanche to grow or sell marijuana, and that recent raids don’t conflict with what Obama expressed while campaigning.

“I wouldn’t say the memo ‘discourages’ certain raids,” a DOJ offical told TheDC. Rather, “it talks about prioritizing resources most efficiently.” And both the White House and the DOJ argued that the gist of the Holder memo was that the DEA would “not focus its limited resources on individual patients with cancer or other serious diseases.”

One can’t help but wonder, with the nomination of Leonhart, the ongoing raids, and this type of public about-face on the issue, if President Obama is now reneging on his campaign pledge to approach medical marijuana issues differently than his predecessor.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs thinks it’s absurd to even suggest such a thing. “I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush,” Gibbs said recently. “Those people ought to be drug tested. I mean, it’s crazy.”

Crazy is exactly right, Mr. Gibbs. I mean, it’s not like President Obama picked the same person George W. Bush did to lead the DEA, and has insisted on standing by her while she employs the same policies that were in place under Bush. Oh wait …

– Article from Marijuana Policy Project.



  1. Anonymous on

    He is too a Muslim you nutsack and he is destroying America with his policies he is a liar and anyone that believes what he says is a very stupid stupid person

  2. True Republican on

    C’mon people, Obama is not in charge. Every time America gets a new president that campaigned on change, they get into office and can’t make the changes promised. This has more to do with an overall agenda from influential people above the rule of law that make decisions for the American administration.

    Forget about trying to change federal policy and work at the personal and community level. Make changes at the city, county and state level and allow the DEA to become a paper tiger with no jurisdiction in the personal lives of its citizens. Overgrow the government, they can’t arrest us all.

    Yes on PROP 19.

  3. Anonymous Don on

    …with a different guy in charge. Politicians are only interested in getting elected, then staying there. Campaign promises are just BS to get there, then its business as usual (do anything to maintain position).

  4. David762 on

    The selection of Michelle Leonhart as the head of the DEA means a continuation of the George W, Bush War on Drugs / War on People policies. Unfortunately, it also means that there will be no progressive momentum in the lawsuit brought by NORML against the DEA toward shifting the drug classification from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 or 3 — a reclassification that has been anticipated since 2006.

    How can the Obama administration continue to claim that they make policy decisions based upon scientific fact rather than catering to special interest groups, all while cannabis remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug — highly addictive, dangerous, highly susceptible to abuse, and with no medical value?

    WTF? The US government itself has held a patent on the medical use of cannabis since 2003, US Patent 6630507.

    WTF? “Highly susceptible to abuse” as being harmful to society, more so than legal alcohol and legal tobacco? But 2 separate government-funded commissions, the LaGuardia Commission AND the Schafer Commission, both found that cannabis was virtually harmless and non-addictive, and both recommended either re-legalization or decriminalization of cannabis.

    There are special interests at work, seeking to undermine any attempt at either re-legalization or decriminalization of cannabis — local, State, and Federal LEOs (job preservation AND asset forfeiture), public and private for-profit prison industries (job preservation AND government funding), corruption of public officials (not illegal means no bribes), and the continuation of the original reason for Prohibition 2.0 — suppression of minority rights.

    I resolve to never support the politicians of either the Democratic Party OR Republican Party that continue this travesty of justice called the War on Drugs, but really the War on People. If Rep. Ron Paul runs in 2012 as a Libertarian or Independent, I’ll vote for him. Otherwise, it will be straight ticket Green Party for me.

  5. MOTFA on

    Well if the same shit goes on and on then i say vote obama out of office or vote for another democrat. just keep throwing these douchebags out on their asses until one comes along that feels like being a hero.

    Or just get out a gun. I don’t mean to pressure anyone into voting because that would just be wrong.

  6. Anonymous on

    Wow, take it easy Tiger! You need to loosen up that rubberband that’s around your nutsacks dude! It’s got you talking all kine crazy shit here. Dude isn’t even a Muslim, get your facts correct ,…asswipe!


  7. Anonymous on

    Great Job Trolls!

  8. Anonymous on

    Troll #1

  9. Anonymous on

    What does anyone expect, look at that hurting hormone raging menopause sex craving dirty blood cave bitch in charge of DEA..? What a joke again, don’t get offended, this is what they deserve, ignorant muslim nigger and menopause bitch… Loving the suffering. GROW YOUR OWN, you won’t need to think of guns and violence and the cost of each toke, which is a shame all smokers need to notice this! TOO BAD OBAMA YOU LIKE DRAMA, YOU LIKE KARMA? GO RIDE THE LAWMOWA!!!

  10. Anonymous on

    Well so much for the War on Drugs winding down or the Obama Administration legalizing pot or a new direction in social policy concerning the use of recreational drugs or freeing Marc Emery.

    Its just the same old bullshit with Obama as Bush / Reagan
    There is no way America is ever going to surrender to the Drug forces
    This is turning out to be a new 100 Years War..
    1.8 million drug war prisoners every year will be a billion in our lifetime

    its just so fucking discouraging how un winning this battle the stoners are
    All of them stupid, selfish and quick to rat out everybody else the moment they get caught.. Its sickening how pathetic the struggle has become. I don’t even feel like smoking super expensive joints anymore, I just get depressed thinking about all this lame shit that brings my weed to me,,guns death and lies plus stacks of 100 dollar bills for the sicko Pimps. Lets face it, stoners are losing the day, losing the battle, lost the war.