Tag Archives: DEA

Fire Michele Leonhart!

The DEA has gone rogue. First, an agent describes marijuana regulation in Washington and Colorado as “reckless and irresponsible,” contrary to the president’s assertion that it’s “important for it to go forward.” Now, DEA administrator Michele Leonhartalert_sidebar_MicheleLeonhart has criticized President Obama for, accurately, saying marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol to the consumer. In fact, the science says marijuana is dramatically safer than alcohol, for both the consumer and society.

It is unacceptable for our nation’s top drug cop to not understand the relative risks of America’s two most popular recreational drugs. That’s why we have started a Change.org petition calling on President Obama to fire Michele Leonhart and replace her with someone who will base decisions on science and evidence instead of politics and ideology.

This is the same person who once refused to answer the relatively simple question of whether marijuana is less harmful than heroin or crack cocaine. Her repeated refusal to recognize clear scientific evidence undermines the president’s mandate that “science and the scientific process guide decisions of [his] Administration.” She’s got to go.

Please sign our petition and share it with everyone you know!

Petition to Obama: Remove Marijuana From the Schedule of Drugs

In a profile published this week by The New Yorker magazine, President Barack Obama acknowledged the fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol for the consumer. Yet federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, a category the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers “the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules.” It’s time for that to change.

The Controlled Substances Act gives the executive branch, led by President Obama, alert_sidebar_ObamaPetition_v3the legal authority to remove marijuana from the DEA’s schedule of drugs. That authority should be exercised immediately.

Please sign our Change.org petition calling on President Obama to remove marijuana from the DEA’s schedule of drugs. Then share it widely with your friends and relatives, and encourage them to sign and share it, too.

The president clearly recognizes that marijuana is safer than alcohol — which is not a scheduled drug — so he should do everything he can to ensure our federal laws reflect that fact. Actions speak louder than words, and it’s time for the president to take action.

Sign our petition now and tell President Obama to remove marijuana from the DEA’s schedule of drugs. Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and it is time for our government to start treating it that way.

Study Finds Marijuana Prohibition Ineffective

Another study pointing to the failures of the war on drugs was published yesterday by a group of U.S. and Canadian researchers. The study was funded by the International Centre for Science in Drug PolicyPopOver_icsdp and examined the relative price and potency of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana from 1990 to 2010. Through analysis of existing data from various UN and governmental databases, the study found that, despite an estimated $1 trillion spent by the U.S. alone, the war on drugs has failed. Lead researcher Dr. Evan Wood commented on the results:

These findings add to the growing body of evidence that the war on drugs has failed. We should look to implement policies that place community health and safety at the forefront of our efforts. 

The study showed that although marijuana seizures by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration increased by 465% between 1990 and 2010, the misguided efforts are ineffective. Since 1990, the price of marijuana has decreased by 86%, and its availability remains high.

It is clear that marijuana prohibition is not an effective means to control marijuana use. Instead, it is time to focus on policies that are best for the community and the individual, instead of wasting resources on arrest.

Rob Kampia: What Can We Learn from DOJ Memo?

Last week, the Department of Justice announced that it would not prioritize marijuana enforcement against businesses that were following state law and adhering to a set of criteria established by Deputy Attorney General James Cole. Given the administration’s history with marijuana policy, there is a lot of speculation about what this memo will mean for the future of reform efforts and the legal marijuana industries in Colorado and Washington, as well as the 20 states and the District of Columbia that allow marijuana for medical purposes.

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Rob Kampia

Here is an excerpt from an in-depth analysis by MPP’s executive director Rob Kampia in the Los Angeles Times:

The Cole memo was the equivalent of no policy at all, since the federal government goes after very few individual marijuana users. In 2012, it sentenced only 83 marijuana-possession offenders to probation or prison, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Meanwhile, the DEA raided more medical marijuana providers during Obama’s first term in office than it did during the eight years under President George W. Bush.

So what can we learn from the Obama administration’s words and actions?

The key lesson is to write state-level marijuana laws correctly. There have been hundreds of outrageous DEA raids on medical marijuana clinics in California, Montana and Washington state, but these three states’ laws don’t explicitly authorize the clinics in the first place. (These states simply authorize patients and caregivers to grow their own.)

In contrast, there have been zero DEA raids on clinics in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont. In these states, plus the District of Columbia, there has been a clear licensing process for medical marijuana businesses.

Read the full article here.

U.S. House Approves Hemp Research Amendment

Yesterday, we told you about an amendment to H.R. 1947, “the farm bill,” that would allow universities and colleges to cultivate industrial hemp. We asked you to call your representatives and help pass this amendment, and you came through! Earlier today, by a vote of 225-200, the House adopted the amendment. Despite the full bill being voted down because of partisan differences, this is a big victory.

Why is it so important? First, the DEA lobbied hard against us and lost. This is perhaps the first time that Congress has listened to arguments from the DEA and advocates for marijuana policy reform, then sided with us. Second, even though this bill won’t pass, there’s a good chance the amendment will get inserted into other legislation now that the full House has approved it.

Here’s the bottom line: the tide is turning. No longer do members of Congress blindly listen to the DEA and ignore advocates. We’re making real progress, and with your help, we can continue building support for further reforms.