US Lawmakers Support For DEA On Marijuana Fading Fast
The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is under attack in Congress as it tries to stem the tide against Marijuana legalization, its political support the Obama White House and Justice Department to which it reports is fading fast.
This year, the DEA’s role in the seizure of industrial hemp seeds bound for research facilities in Kentucky drew angry rebukes from the Senate’s most powerful Republican.
The GOP-controlled House recently voted to prohibit federal agents from busting Medical Marijuana operations that are legal under state laws. And that measure brought one of the Senate’s most conservative members together with 1 of its most liberal in a bipartisan alliance.
How much the DEA’s influence has declined was readily apparent in the US House debate, when Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) denounced the agency’s boss.
“She is a terrible agency head,” Mr. Polis said of Administrator Michele Leonhart. “She has repeatedly embarrassed her agency before this body,” Mr. Polis said.
Ms. Leonhart is not getting much backup from the Obama White House.
This year, she complained that US President Barack Hussein Obama seemed alarmingly blase about what she sees as a Marijana epidemic. Her remarks to Sheriffs gathered at a conference in Washington, DC came soon after Mr. Obama noted that Marijuana seemed no more dangerous to him than alcohol.
“She said, ‘I am so angry the president said what he said and completely ignored the science.”
Ms. Leonhart, a holdover from the George W. Bush (43) administration, where she served as acting DEA chief, remains in her post even as more than 42,400 people have signed a petition demanding her resignation.
The DEA is operating on a tightrope.
Many US lawmakers believe that Marijuana should no longer be classified among the most dangerous drugs, but are reluctant to vote to change federal narcotics law. And despite cautious acceptance of state legalization laws by the Obama White House, its enforcement strategy is ambiguous. The statutes that guide narcotics agents at the height of the war on drugs to aggressively go after Marijuana remain on the books.
In May US AG Eric H. Holder called Ms. Leonhart in for a private talk, and told her to stop contradicting the administration on the state legalization of Marijuana.
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