Bush Appointee Nominated by Obama to Head DEA

Jan 27, 2010

President Obama has nominated the acting head of the DEA, Michele Leonhart, to take on the post permanently. We have been generally happy with the Justice Department during Obama’s freshman year, but it would be nice to see a new face at the DEA. Here’s why.

Early in Leonhart’s career, she was the Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Division, where she oversaw President George W. Bush’s brutal tactic of raiding and arresting medical marijuana patients. Most readers will remember the raids on dispensaries that were part of the former president’s war on drugs until 2009, but during the early years of the Bush administration, these raids were directed at individual patients, not just distributors. This show of force was a political message meant to undermine state medical marijuana laws. Bush was so smitten with Leonhart’s work fighting innocent cancer patients that he promoted her to deputy director in 2003.

In that role, Leonhart rejected the application of Professor Lyle Craker of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to research marijuana’s medical value. Professor Craker was proposing the kind of project considered essential if marijuana is ever to be licensed by the FDA as a prescription medicine, and a DEA administrative law judge ruled in Craker’s favor. Leonhart, however, ignored the judge’s ruling and denied the application. Her reasons were transparently phony: an ideological opposition to medical marijuana dressed up in pseudoscientific language. This is precisely the sort of nonsense Obama has pledged to end.

At a news conference in April, Michele Leonhart said that legalizing drugs “would be a failed law enforcement strategy for both the U.S. and Mexico.” That’s certainly not change I can believe in.

46 responses to “Bush Appointee Nominated by Obama to Head DEA”

  1. At a news conference in April, Michele Leonhart said that legalizing drugs “would be a failed law enforcement strategy for both the U.S. and Mexico.”

    And what they are doing nw is working?Has worked for 40+ years? All the un – need arrests/ruined lives in the US, all the deaths in Mexico? Thats not failure? Seriuosly…what world are these people living in?!

  2. Law enforcement is the failed strategy. Legalization would be the success. 100 years from now, the massive harm that drug prohibition does to the fabric of our society will be more generally recognized.

  3. This is to be expected from Obama. He want us to be a socialist nation. Every day we get closer and we have no choice. The dems lost a very important seat last week. Now he is going to hire people for permanant positions. He is doing this to bow to the phama and the lobbiests and his pocket. He gives a rats ass about us. There will be med mj for a lot of people but not for all of America. We have three more years of tyranny. Obama is turning out to be just exactly what we were voting against. He has lied to us every time he spoke about anything. i know this is supposed to be about cannabis reform but we have lost 15 years of progress thanks to Obama.Vote the marxist out.

  4. Screw the DEA and what they do. Marijuana law reform IS contagious, its only going to get bigger and better. Marijuana will be legalize for recreational use.

  5. We’ll never have an American in the White House till we have the balls to vote for someone outside of the democrat/republic self-interest groups. Ron Paul, America’s best chance.

  6. She said that legalizing drugs would be a failed law enforcement strategy, in which she lumped cannabis in with hard drugs such as heroin and crack and oxycontin. What we have as far as cannabis is concerned is already a failed law enforcement strategy. Well, she is in charge, might as well get the big bucks since she’s been doing the job already, so I won’t begrudge her that. She must have more than two functioning brain cells though, and should stop lumping marijuana in with hard drugs, legal by prescription or illegal. Now that she is the head of the DEA, she should start using the one on her shoulders. I understand she is a foot soldier who rose through the ranks by following orders, and I think she will raid the cannabis shops in California like in LA that the city wants shut down if they don’t shut down on their own within the prescribed time frame. Hopefully, they will relocate to other locations. There must be some desert gulch towns that would allow a lot of them to relocate there. They could probably use the tax revenues, too. It would be an inconvenient commute, but it would preserve the supply for the patients.

    Congress and Obama just need to deconstruct the law at the federal level to put the whole issue of command and control at the state level for medical, industrial and recreational use.

  7. I’m begining to become a little embarresed over the fact that I voted for Obama. I’ll probably still vote for him again but what he vowed to do write the wrongs that GWB did in his presidency. It doesn’t make any sense. He needs to lead with his heart instead of his brain.

  8. You have to realize this bitches job partly depends on marijuana being illegal. Half the DEA would instantly have nothing to do. After they were fired she would be in charge of half as many people, making herself less valuable. If they weren’t fired, her metrics would look worse. Either way she has a large personal stake in it. She is also probably delusional enough to believe her work makes a difference.

  9. I agree with all of the above comments.

    This lady just wants to keep her phantom job as long as possible; I’d guess she and the handful of poiticians bullying us around are all about to find themselves at the end of the unemployment lines.

    Yes, You also President Obama, if You can’t lead, step-aside and at least get out of our way!

    How can a person be so heartless when it comes to chemo pain and etc.

    President Obama, that’s two strikes for You so far; the other when You made that personal attack on officers at some Professor’shome last year.

    one more strike, and You’re out at the ‘ole American Ball-game.

    Get Human, DEA Michele Leonhart and President Barrack Obama!

    You both are employed by WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (remember?)

    What is so darn hard about pure-hearted love, non-judgement of others, having sincere faith in God, and having a clear conscience about it.

    I have self-medicated myself for 55 years and no one is gong to ever change me now unless they want to bury me dead.

    Stress is pushing suicidal people over the edge unnecessarily.

    Change it Obama..quit being led around with a ring in Your nose!

  10. I knew Obama sounded to good to be true. This proves that he is a liar and that he doesnt really want to protect the sick from the ignorant prohibitionist. Thanks again Obama you communist liar.

  11. This is a really disappointing decision bordering on an outrage. Leonhart is an irrational, anti-marijuana propagandist in exactly the same vein as John Walters and Barry McCaffrey. It really calls into question Obama’s integrity on this issue, which seemed to be one of the few bright spots in policy change during his first year.

    Only the mainstream media can turn this situation into something positive. The administration needs to be held accountable and answer for this move. Michele Leonhart needs to go.

  12. Well, I have respected The President up until now.

    He has only ‘passed-the-buck’ like all civil servants are able to do…he probably had it planned all along to give the power to this woman… (one woman?)

    So now I am drafting my best, personal and professsional letter to DEA Michele Leonhart in Washington D.C. with hopes of softening her hard-heartedness.

    She has had to have at least somewhat educated herself to the present day facts of life and what WE all need and want (Peace!)

    With the stroke of a pen, they influence each and every one of our lives; it is not fair and it is about to change drastically here shortly.

    I’ll start screaming international TORTURE IN THE COUNTY JAIL if I have to.

    And no, HOPE, on drugwarrant.com and Pete; I’m not in this war for self-promotion like you both have accused me of.

    Forget the preaching of forgiveness to me HOPE also because you have not a clue!

    DdC, they want you off of their line also.

    MPP is what is True!

    Everything else is MANUFACTURED and deadly.

    Let’s leave President Obama to dealing with world politics and go after this woman’s conscience.

    Pete’s idiots think I am a hacker, an IP blocker, annoying, etc. LOL!

    What a bunch of paranoid individuals.

    And no, I do not competely disagree with Pete’s line of thinking neither, because junkies do it to themselves daily and always have and always will too.

    Oxy just took another friend of mine.

    Let them all have at it if that is what they want.

    Obama probably doesn’t want our troops to come home, but only add to them, because there is no work for them here.

    Each and every state should have canvass and rope factories, medical clinics (for whatever reasons) and be fair and equal to individual human beings overall.

    I hope and pray for this day to come soon; and it will.

  13. This isn’t surprising really. Obama lost alot of political credibility with the Mass. election and the seeming defeat of his health care bill. He has to start at least LOOKING like he’s governing from the middle rather than from the hard left. And face it folks… cannabis law reform is still the lefties territory.

  14. Well here comes President Obama’s 1st State Of The Union Address.

    World News just said that in Jerusalem, The Supreme Court (considered sacred) was actually meeting today regarding Medical Marijuana.

    Some disgruntled guy threw his shoes at a Lady Justice and broke her glasses.

    So, even in Jerusalem, this exact debate is alive and well.

    Sorry for the Lady Supreme Court Justice…(ouch!)

  15. He has became just like the former President Clinton. All I could say is good luck on bringing back jobs. It seems there will be more prison construction going on in the future.

  16. Wow. Obama could be confused for Bush quite easily.
    Look away from the two party system. They all say whatever they can to get into office.

  17. This doesn’t change the game at all. We are still making great victories in the state legislatures. The federal government was always going to be the last to change it’s policies. We have to concentrate on medicine accessible in more states. Eventually a state will legalize and that will spread to other states. The feds will always fight to keep their programs going, no matter how wasteful they are. The state governments have to look at budgets more realistically, and most states are in financial trouble now. They can’t just print more money or borrow it from China. The states are realizing that they can’t keep up the year after year eradication and law enforcement efforts that simply don’t work.

  18. Good call Rasta, we need to stay positive and stick with the methods that have been working. Nothing that has been earned so far has come from the federal government, and we don’t need their help now either.

  19. The federal law can trump state law WHENEVER it choses to do so. WE ARE FUCKED!!!!!!! Better start thinking of a way to get rid of her.

  20. Chill out Mark. Even under the auspices of the DEA, the Controlled Substances Act, the ONDCP, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, GW Bush, Barry McCaffrey, John Walters, etc etc, we’ve reached the point where LA has more marijuana dispensaries than it has Starbucks. This issue has a power and a momentum that no federal agency or figurehead could ever hope to stop.

    As Walter would say, “nothing is fucked here Dude.”

  21. It takes a true psychopath to become the head of the DEA. Relentlessly showing no compassion unless there is the need to present themselves as caring people so that they can go on with their work to control and terrorize the society when they feel the need to keep their jobs.
    They are very good in setting people up. In fact, that is all what they do. Big bust is no accident.

  22. We need to all stand up for weed. It’s a fact that 43% of Americans have tried it. If we have a revolution or some kind of public movement, then eventually they would take it into cinsideration. The police can’t arrest all of us.

    It’s time for real change, no Obama bullshit

  23. During last night’s speech, President Obama’s audience literally laughed out loud, not once but twice, when The President stated government spending will cease in a year or so.

    YouTube has over a thousand comments from people and the only ones that make one iota of sense is allowing hemp and cannabis to be free and legal.

    President Obama has an agenda to get out of these wars, but it appears to me that He actually takes orders from his counter-parts.

    When President Obama stated, “don’t ask don’t tell,” regarding people in love with the same sex being admitted into military…all of those military leaders sat stoned-faced silent making another mockery of The President.

    He is only one man; I doubt he can perform miracles like some seem to expect…but I believe He is doing his best.

    This government has just out-grown its own britches.

    Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians!

    What if the hemp crops throughout this nation, Utah, South Dakota, California, Oregon, Rhode Island, Colorado, etc. are absolutely just CLAIMED by the people.

    America is 300M people against a handful of rich tycoons trying to rule us.

    There is no way that this plant will be eradicated, so now, I am making my formal letter to Washington D.C. (President Obama and Michele Leonhart).

    Total freeing up of this plant is the only sensible way to save humanity and this planet.

    Industry and ancient herbal medicine…Uncle Sam makes it hard on himself…but truth and time marches onward. We have won if we all stick together. Yes, Yes, Yes we can!

  24. There is something that we can do…. WRITE the President and tell him this a terrible idea and one that goes against his call to let Science dictate Policy not political pressures. The situation with Lyle Craker (UMass – Amherst) shows that Leonhart has no concern with the scientific record concerning marijuana. The DEA cannot continue to stand up and oppose Medical Marijuana because of “lack of research” while at the same time denying requests for research unless that research is trying to show someething wrong with marijuana.

    Please take the time to write the President:


    Then when you done with that… please go vote for the Marijuana related ideas on Change.org. We’ll probably hear “I don’t know what this says about our online community” again, but at the very least he will know that we aren’t going to stop asking. Every opportunity that presents itself we need to take advantage of.


  25. DarthNole – that is amazing that five of those aforementioned studies directly relate to (may) fight cancer. They know it does and we need more funds.

    Eradication of cancer would be a miracle unto itself someday – the sooner the better.

    $65M was given to children’s cancer research the other day. It’s about time to wake up and shake ’em up.

    Thanks for The Whitehouse address, and etc.

    God Bless!

  26. Does anybody know exactly what President Obama’s views on marijuana? I can only recall three or four responses that he made that were very shallow. Unlike answers on other issues were he would make a dramatic soapbox speech on health care, foreign policy, the economy, and jobs.
    I think he is afraid to address the issue by making it seem unimportant.

  27. I just mailed my letters to President Obama and Michele Leonhart.

    I kept it short and sweet and to the point as much as possible.

    It ended up 2 and 1/2 pages; I wrote of the urgency to reclaim what is ours to begin with (freedom).

    Industry, medicine, and religious freedom of choice is in me’ letter.

    I made it clear that it is a violation of our 1st Amendment Right to religion.

    I mentioned state corruption briefly, but mostly the potential to eradicate cancer someday should be our united goal.

    ..and to please re-schedule cannabis and hemp as Schedule I.

    Thanks ya’ all. Take care.

  28. ..ah oh..I know..I made a boo-boo and got it backwards.

    But that innocent mistake might also provoke attention as to why our worthy cause is in dire need of re-scheduling.

    I think it should go back to whatever the stage of an aspirin is! (IV?)

    I’m certain they will understand my true intention.

  29. OBAMA DEA ALERT!!! DEA must reallocate its officers and soldiers to protect our US borders. The Mexican cartels and drug fueled nations, N Korea & Afganistan are the US’s real problem. Obama can take full credit for the idea of sending all of the much needed help into hot drug zones along the US border where the DEA can use their expertise to stop the cartels and terrorists from slipping through at the border and thus stopping their shipment in its tracks. This plan is designed to help the DEA successfully achieve,”good guys status”, by nipping the problem in the nub. The DEA, good guys, helping the economy by letting americans legally get and/or grow their medicine without punishment, as long as the state law is not broken. Due to changing laws, the ATF could soon be called the ATFC if the letter C for Cannabis is added. The ATFC could be more effective in regulating medical marijuana then the DEA, as they do Alcohol, Tobacoo, and Firearms. With 14 states passing medical bills allowing cannabis and another 18 states have legalization on their docket. This will let Americans pay taxes on Cannabis and no longer live in fear. People with bad nerves are in pain. Remember not everyone can drink alcohol without experiencing bad side effects. Some can people smoke, vaporize, or eat medical cannabis because it helps their nerves without the negative side effects of alcohol. Everyone responds a little differently to alcohol and cannabis, so ending cannabis prohibition is the right thing to do. I hope our Senators and Congressmen will pass medical marijuana bills every state across the US. It would be a huge blessing to people like me and a big step forward for the US. The DEA is the answer to winning the war on cartels and terrorists get most of money from supplying illegal drugs to US citizens. Under Obama, the american people’s right to smoke cannabis can be restored while aiming the DEA in the direction of the powerful Cartels, many Mexican, and also uncontrollable countries like, N Korea and Afganistan.

    God Bless,
    Deep DEA

  30. Dear Deep DEA – I had my first real night’s sleep the other night sincerely , Thanks to You.

    Now I know, and God Please Bless You and Yours also.

    To my lovely enduring Friends on-line thanks for my life also.

    I am officially under federal protection until all of my personal details are worked out.

    If I happen to get an answer from from letter , I’ll let everyone know. Thanks again. Wendy Renae.

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