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Confirmed: DEA Head Michele Leonhart Stepping Down

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 22, 2015

    Michele LeonhartDrug Enforcement Administration head Michele Leonhart is stepping down, US Attorney General Eric Holder has confirmed.

    Members of the US House Oversight Committee gave Leonhart a vote of “no confidence” last week after an Office of the Inspector General report revealed that senior DEA officials had participated in sex parties arranged by Colombian drug cartels and had also received weapons and cash from cartel members. None of the agents involved were fired by director Leonhart.

    Michele Leonhart began serving as the agency’s acting director in November 2007 before being confirmed as DEA administrator in 2010.

    Leonhart had consistently taken a hardline stance against any change in marijuana policy. Early in her tenure she oversaw dozens of federal raids on medical marijuana providers and producers in states that had legalized the plant. She set aside a verdict from the agency’s own administrative law judge that sought to expand and facilitate clinical research into marijuana as a medicine and she rejected an administrative petition calling for marijuana rescheduling hearings. She openly criticized remarks made by the President acknowledging cannabis’ relative safety compared to alcohol, and criticized the administration’s efforts to allow states to implement limited regulatory schemes for the retail production and sale of cannabis to adults. In public testimony, Leonhart refused to acknowledge whether she believed that crack cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin posed greater risks to health than marijuana — instead opining, “All illegal drugs are bad.”

    Ms. Leonhart also actively opposed hemp law reform during her time as DEA director. She criticized a decision to fly a hempen flag over the Capitol, saying it was “her lowest point in 33 years in the DEA.” Last year, her agency unlawfully seized 250 pounds of legal hemp seeds destined for Kentucky’s state Agricultural Department.

    Always a true believer in the drug war no matter what the costs, in 2009 she described increased southern border violence as a sign of the “success” of her agency’s anti-drug strategies.

    Michele Leonhart is expected to leave the agency in mid-May.

    96 responses to “Confirmed: DEA Head Michele Leonhart Stepping Down”

    1. Bob Constantine says:

      Let’s hope someday she will apologize to some of her victims.

    2. Jim says:

      I don’t particularly want to, but I feel I have to say in her defense that the stance “All illegal drugs are bad” is what you’d WANT to hear from the head of the DEA, remembering the “E” stands for enforcement. And the statement is factually true insomuch as its meaning hinges on the word “illegal.” Which, by-the-way, Congress is something YOU could fix with a stroke of your legislative pen. So stop your damn bleating?

    3. Fred says:

      goodbye, worthless corrupt pig.

    4. Odhinn says:

      Well, whaddya know?? Narcs can’t be trusted….

    5. Odhinn says:

      Wonder how many epileptic babies had died because of her?

    6. John says:

      Finally this war pig has been shot down.

    7. Jared says:

      Now that’s cause for celebration! I know she’s resigning more because she did a terrible job running the DEA than because of her uninformed outdated stances on pot, but I would still call this a victory for enlightened smokers everywhere.

    8. drew says:

      Thank god …I was hopeing she would leave. Don’t know why Obama would put that fool in office. But hopefully they put someone with a brain and a good deal of common sense so we don’t have to deal with crap anymore.peace ?

    9. Neil says:

      Gee wizz. You’ve been wondering where all the resistance from behind has been coming from. Now we know. What took so long for her to get the heck OUT!

    10. erin says:

      A good start! Now get rid of this unnecessary agency completely. The DEA is a huge waste of time and money (as well as being a safe harbor for corruption).

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