Skip to main content

 photo leonhartdownload_zpsbf12bae0.jpg

Nearly from its creation in 1970, under the Controlled Substance Act, the Drug Enforcement Agency has seen itself as the front line, and shock troops, of the "war on drugs," launched by Richard Nixon, in the next year. As you can see from the plot showing nearly a 10 fold increase in the total number of U.S. prisoners after this, the DEA measures success in its mission largely by incarcerating as many people as possible. The number of federal prisoners incarcerated for drug offenses is just under 98,000. The total number of federal and state prisoners is 2.2 million, about half in prison for drug related crimes.  

 photo state-and-federal-prison-population-1925-2010-number-of-people-nixon-launches-war-on-drugs-source-bureau-of-justice-statisti_zpsa56c0316.jpg

The United States has the largest prison population of any country in the world, the largest percentage of our population in prison, the most women prisoners of any country in the world, and half of our prisoners are in prison for drug offenses, raising the question, "are Americans truly the most depraved, immoral, bunch of criminals, of the lowest character and integrity of any and every country in the world, or are we putting way too many of our otherwise innocent citizens in jail, for an out-of-control anti-drug ideology which needs to be reversed?"  

 photo RacePrison_zpsed6146d5.gif

In this context, Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of The Drug Policy Alliance, and Rick Doblin, Executive Director of The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychadelic Studies, write a scathing indictment of The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science.

Unfortunately, the Controlled Substance Act also put the DEA in charge of approving all medical and scientific research on illegal drugs which these authors argue the DEA has obstructed at every opportunity - in what they suggest is leaving the "fox in charge of the hen house."

Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, the DEA's powers include not just the ability to enforce federal drug laws, but the authority to schedule drugs and license facilities for the production and use of scheduled drugs in federally-approved research. The DEA is statutorily required to make its determinations based on scientific data. There is no indication in the legislative record that the CSA intended for drug classification to be a one-way ratchet, with only tighter controls ever envisioned. Nor was there any indication that the DEA's decision-making process was intended to be an entirely political process.

Despite substantial evidence confirming marijuana's medical benefits, the DEA has opposed any efforts to reform federal policy to reflect this. At the same time, the DEA has essentially blocked the FDA drug development route for marijuana by making it extremely difficult for researchers to obtain marijuana for clinical trials.

In 2007, one of the DEA's own Administrative Law Judge's ruled that the DEA monopoly as the only source marijuana for scientific research was harmful to the public interest and should end, yet, DEA Director Michele Leonhart intervened and overruled the ruling.

Many have speculated the reason the DEA has so vigorously blocked medical and scientific research into the medical benefits of marijuana is that the DEA knows that scientists would find it to be beneficial, the DEA would be required to take it off its Schedule I list and the DEA would lose its enormous budget for fighting its use.  

Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug, along with heroin, and LSD, meaning it is extremely dangerous and has no legitimate use, an error of classification clear from the start. Yet for 40 years, the DEA has stalled, or fought, every attempt to reclassify marijuana based on a true scientific and medical assessment.

The DEA took 16 years to issue a final decision rejecting the first marijuana rescheduling petition, five years for the second, and nine years for the third. In two of the three cases, it took multiple lawsuits to force the agency to act.
Other DEA Administrative Law judges have ruled that neither marijuana nor MDMA (ecstasy) should be a Schedule I drug and should instead by a Schedule II drug regulated by the FDA. Again, totally ignoring the scientific evidence on which these decisions were made, Michele Leonhart overruled this finding.
DEA Administrative Law Judges are government officials charged with evaluating the evidence on rescheduling and other matters before the DEA and making recommendations based on that evidence to the DEA Administrator. In the cases of the scheduling of marijuana and MDMA, the judges determined that that they should be placed in Schedule II instead of Schedule I, where they would be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as prescription medicines, but still retain criminal sanctions for non-medical uses. However, agency administrators overruled their Administrative Law Judges' recommendations, substituting their own judgments and ignoring scientific evidence. The current DEA head, Michelle Leonhart, also rejected a DEA Administrative Law Judge ruling that the DEA end its unique and unjustifiable monopoly on the supply of research-grade marijuana available for federally-approved research.
I agree with the author's recommendation that the "responsibility for determining drug classification be totally removed from the DEA" and put instead in the National Academy of Sciences. Also, they recommend the DEA be ordered to end their monopoly as the only possible source for marijuana for research purposes.

The authors note that the DEA was established as a police and propaganda agency, so it imakes no sense to entrust them with decisions and responsibilities "involving science and medical practice," especially after considering the agency's long history of systemic abuse of its powers in this area.

I also agree with the author's call for a "top-to-bottom review of this rogue agency." .
President Obama can use his executive powers to reorganize his executive branch so Michele Leonhart has no staff, no budget, and no office. DEA functions can he spun off into the 15 other federal law enforcement agencies, which is too many anyway.

We need to ask that Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama to demand the immediate resignation of DEA Director Michele Leonhart.

 photo michele-leonhart-dea-photo_zps38a537e8.jpg

Please sign the petition demanding her resignation, write the president (at the provided link) , take the poll, and write to your reps (at link.)

Thanks to Notreadytobenice for this link to the petition at

Petitioning President Barack Obama - Fire Anti-Marijuana DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart!

Ask your Senators to protect medical marijuana from federal interference the way the U.S. House has done banning the DEA from using taxpayer money to interfere with medical marijuana laws.

Please use this site provided by the Drug Policy Alliance to send a message to you state Senators and your House Representative asking for them to: End the Federal Assault on Medical Marijuana

Just say no to DEA Director Michele Leonhart - the single worst government employee in the United States! Please do something today to help the 1 million of your brothers and sisters - fellow Americans who are rotting in jail because of ideologically based drug laws.

Let's not leave these poor folks behind on the battlefield of the war on American drug users. And for god's sake, let's beg President Obama and Eric Holder to order the DOJ and DEA to stop causing more casualties on this battlefield everyday. Or we may confirm what the rest of the world apparently already suspects - Americans are truly the most depraved people on the planet.  

If President Obama and Eric Holder will not save us from ourselves, our only other hope may be that the International War Crimes Tribunal brings charges against us for committing war crimes and atrocities against our own people. (Snark alert!) Somehow we must bring this destructive daily carnage to an end.  

6:34 PM PT: To get a better understanding of DEA Director's Michele Leonhart's unworthiness for employment in the U.S. Government please read some of the following:


Arizona judge rules pot can be used for PTSD in states medical marijuana program
Terry Tang of the Associated Press writes  Arizona Judge ...
HoundDog 06/07/2014 21 35 1
DEA targets doctors linked to state legal medical marijuana clinics in MA reports Boston Globe
The Terrifying Trio of U.S. Drug Enforcement: Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart; Attorney General Eric Holder; and FBI Assistant Director Kevin Perkins

Kay Lazar ...
HoundDog 06/06/2014 40 29 1
"War on drugs has failed, so let's shut it down," says Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group
"We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam" (Courtesy of Gooserock)

JUST SAY the War on ...
HoundDog 06/03/2014 15 22 1
House votes to end DEA raids on state legal medical marijuana operations
Jacob Fischer of Buzzfeed reports House Votes To End DEA Raids On Legal Medical Marijuana Operations

WASHINGTON — The House passed an amendment late Thursday night to restrict the Drug ...
HoundDog 05/30/2014 86 85 1
Eric Holder has failed to stop DOJ interference of state legal medical marijuana, congress must act
The Terrifying Trio of U.S. Drug Enforcement: Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart; Attorney General Eric Holder; and FBI Assistant Director Kevin Perkins

Steph ...
HoundDog 05/29/2014 33 32 -
VA Rep tells Obama to butt out of trying to control DEA chief
Michele Leonhart/dea photo

The frustrating melodrama of DEA Director Micelle Leonhart takes another turn.

Steve Neavling of Ticklethewire ...
HoundDog 05/23/2014 21 27 -
Eric Holder requires FBI, and DEA to record interviews of subjects to end abuses
Michael S. SchmidT reports

 WASHINGTON — The Justice Department announced on Thursday that federal law enforcement officials will be required to videotape their interviews with suspects in most ...
HoundDog 05/22/2014 32 51 3
DEA Chief Michele Leonhart should resign immediately and President Obama should demand it
Bill Piper , Director of Drug Policy Alliance's Office of National Affairs. declares  DEA ...
HoundDog 05/16/2014 237 356 2
Show Of Hands: Anyone Approve Of Slavery?
Show Of Hands: Anyone Approve Of Slavery?

It's not even the kind of question we would ask.   Aside from a few serious kooks this is an area of universal agreement in our country and by far most ...

Reinvented Daddy 05/07/2014 7 8 1
DEA head resorting to Repub/Orwellian lie tactics
Michele Leonhart is at it again with her lies. She is trying on the old Republican party tactic of spouting bald-faced lies and hoping the shit sticks to the wall via repetition of the lies. But ...
gnosticator 04/10/2014 9 19 -

Possible Group Names:

1.  Abolish The DEA - Michele Leonhart Must Resign!

2.  End The War on Drugs - DEA Director Michele Leonhart Must Resign!

3.  Leanhart Must Go!

Originally posted to SciTech on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 04:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform and Police Accountability Group.


How much to you agree with the sentiments that DEA Director Michele Leonhart should resign, we should end the war on drugs, reschedule marijuana etc.?

0%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%2 votes
3%9 votes
2%5 votes
0%0 votes
6%14 votes
15%35 votes
46%107 votes
0%1 votes
22%53 votes
1%4 votes

| 231 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Angie in WA State, nota bene, RF, Chi, oofer, copymark, Gooserock, wytcld, Shockwave, wu ming, jazzizbest, cotterperson, xynz, MarkInSanFran, hubcap, zeitshabba, Creosote, susans, TracieLynn, themank, mollyd, lcrp, mungley, vacantlook, xxdr zombiexx, sachristan, Dirk McQuigley, marina, jrooth, caul, democracy inaction, run around, Simplify, basquebob, YucatanMan, Kevskos, reflectionsv37, eru, owlbear1, esquimaux, Medium Head Boy, Kingsmeg, AoT, KenBee, MargaretPOA, philipmerrill, NearlyNormal, onionjim, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, markthshark, aelurophile, Deadicated Marxist, gailwax, Positronicus, yoduuuh do or do not, Dave in Northridge, bmx writer, millwood, bewild, JDWolverton, Justus, Buckeye Nut Schell, mikeconwell, monkeybrainpolitics, tofumagoo, MrJayTee, Drewid, Notreadytobenice, Karl Rover, billybam, maggiejean, JesseCW, dRefractor, Words In Action, ruscle, FogCityJohn, jakedog42, mookins, Lost and Found, cordgrass, pixxer, DerAmi, orlbucfan, science nerd, Wisdumb, annieli, Oldowan, slowbutsure, marleycat, zukesgirl64, susanala, Wolf10, sofa turf, RMForbes, enhydra lutris, Andrew F Cockburn, bakeneko, James Protzman, leftykook, jacey, OldDragon, IndieGuy, Eric Nelson, David54, Horace Boothroyd III, joeschmeaux, New Minas, wxorknot, oldpotsmuggler, FrY10cK, MusicFarmer, Windowpane, Hammerhand, jusjtim35, Illinois IRV, Flecked Carbon, jbob, philS, SixSixSix, Alhambra, Demeter Rising, duhban, OregonWetDog, TheDuckManCometh, hamjudo, eagleray, jbsoul, Yang Guang, Darwinian Detritus, ApostleOfCarlin, cjtjc, ChuckChuckerson, BMScott, jessbell911, Blackwolf53

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site