DEA

RSS Feed for this category

Quote of the Day

Last week's Wall Street Journal op-ed from nine former DEA administrators resulted in some interesting letters to the editor. Here's my favorite:

The authors say, "Keeping drugs illegal reduces their availability and lessens willingness to use them." I suppose that is why after 37 years, trillions of taxpayer dollars, and tens if not hundreds of thousands of drug-related murders later, today's high-school kids are a text message away from buying pot whenever they want, and a decent chunk of our border with Mexico is ruled by drug gangs.

D. Silvers
Orlando, Fla.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Anyone whose professional bio includes the title "Former DEA Administrator" shouldn't be looked to for advice or expertise on drug policy.

The D.E.A. Changes a Policy on Painkillers

The Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a new guideline intended to help ease the delay some nursing home residents face in receiving certain painkillers and anti-anxiety medications. The D.E.A. had not previously recognized nurses employed by nursing homes as the legal agents of doctors in conveying controlled substances prescriptions to pharmacists. The agency’s previous stance, critics said in an article last week in The New York Times, caused many nursing home residents to suffer in pain while they waited for their prescriptions.
Publication/Source: 
The New York Times (NY)
URL: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/health/policy/07aging.html

Ex-DEA Bosses Lash Out Against Marijuana Legalization in California

With the Prop 19 vote less than a month away and polling strong, it has apparently dawned on the nation's top drug warriors that now might be a good time to start freaking out. Hence, we find nine former DEA administrators complaining in The Wall Street Journal that Attorney General Eric Holder hasn't been busy threatening Californians with a federal crackdown:

…if passed by voters in November, Proposition 19—also known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010—will be in direct conflict with the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), a federal law that makes the production and sale of marijuana a federal crime. In our federal system, a state law that conflicts with a federal law violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and is void.

We have urged Attorney General Eric Holder to speak out on this issue. If Mr. Holder and his department remain silent, it will send an unfortunate message to the public and to our law-enforcement counterparts overseas and in this country. The Justice Department's continued silence also indicates a willingness to ignore the policy set out by the president in his National Drug Control Strategy.

Yeah, you ignorant hippies, hasn't anyone ever told you that it's illegal to legalize marijuana? If you're wondering how come medical marijuana has been openly sold in storefronts across California ever since the passage of Prop 215 back in 1996, you must be hallucinating, because that never happened.

Seriously though, how ridiculous is it that these desperate drug warriors are deploying the same insultingly stupid distraction tactics that failed them more than a decade ago? They actually want Holder to tell voters that Prop 19 will be "void" even if it passes, as though no one in California has ever heard of a marijuana dispensary. This, in their view, is an argument so strong as to warrant an entire Wall Street Journal op-ed dedicated to it.

For another layer of absurdity, consider that one of the authors, Karen Tandy, presided over the DEA during a dramatic expansion of the medical marijuana industry that she now claims is legally impossible, even though it actually happened in real life while she was in charge of federal drug enforcement. She knows as well as anyone that California can make its own drug laws whether the DEA likes it or not. It's true that she could have prosecuted everyone in sight under federal law, but for a variety of practical and political reasons, that isn't what happened. It's not likely to happen if Prop 19 passes either, at least not unless Obama has a masochistic desire to further alienate his base as we heads towards 2012.

Will the Government's Drug 'Take-Back' Do Anything to Reduce Misuse? (Opinion)

Seeking to address the fact that in 17 states prescription drug combination overdoses kill more people than traffic accidents, and that prescription drug related treatment admissions have recently increased 400%, the DEA will collect your unused medications, no questions asked. But will this straightforward strategy really address the rise in addictions and death? The data suggest that the issue is more complicated than you think.
Publication/Source: 
TIME (US)
URL: 
http://healthland.time.com/2010/09/24/will-the-governments-drug-take-back-do-anything-to-reduce-misuse/

Court Blames DEA Agent’s Road Rage in 2003 Beating

Location: 
KS
United States
When Barron Bowling wouldn’t let a car pass him from the right seven years ago, it sparked road rage that left him beaten and lying on blistering pavement. Bowling’s attacker turned out to be federal Drug Enforcement Administration agent Timothy McCue, who was in an unmarked car with two colleagues.
Publication/Source: 
The Kansas City Star (MO)
URL: 
http://www.kansascity.com/2010/09/20/2238527/court-blames-dea-agents-road-rage.html

Federal Agents Raid At Least Five Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2010
11:25 PM

CONTACT: Americans for Safe Access
ASA Media Liaison Kris Hermes 510-681-6361

Federal Agents Raid At Least Five Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Advocates underscore need for dispensary regulations, end to federal enforcement

LAS VEGAS - September 8 - The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted raids earlier today on at least five medical marijuana dispensaries in Las Vegas, Nevada, and reportedly seized patient and financial records, but made no arrests. According to the Associated Press, Natalie Collins, spokeswoman for the local U.S. Attorney's office said that the federal search warrants and "supporting affidavits stemming from what she called 'an ongoing law enforcement operation' were sealed by federal court order." The dispensaries raided today by federal agents and local police included: Happiness Consultant, Salvation Haven, Nature's Way, Organic Releaf, & Holistic Solutions.

The federal raids come nearly a year after an October 2009 Justice Department directive issued to U.S. Attorneys in medical marijuana states, deprioritizing enforcement against medical marijuana patients and providers. The Las Vegas raids occurred less than two months after another spate of federal raids in July against state-compliant patients in California and Michigan. "The federal government should never be called on to enforce local or state medical marijuana laws," said Caren Woodson, Director of Government Affairs with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy group. "The federal DEA must abide by the Justice Department policy and stay out of the enforcement of local and state medical marijuana laws."

In July, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman stated publicly on local television that allowing dispensaries was "a very legitimate goal," and that, "If doctors say that it does a patient some good and gives relief to somebody that has a dire need for it, I'm all for it." Nevada failed to consider the issue of distribution at the time of adopting its medical marijuana law in 2000. Although the state allows "Designated Primary Caregivers" to supply medical marijuana to patients, the qualifications are stringent and require "significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a person diagnosed with a chronic or debilitating medical condition."

Nevada's effort to address the need of sick patients to access local distribution of medical marijuana mirrors the efforts in other states like California, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon and Washington. Both Maine and Rhode Island have amended their laws to include state-licensed distribution similar to the medical marijuana laws of New Mexico. The trend to ensure safe access to medical marijuana by establishing licensed distribution facilities has even extended to states currently deliberating new medical marijuana laws, such as Iowa, Kansas, Maryland and Wisconsin.

"A failure to regulate the much-needed distribution of medical marijuana by states such as Nevada should not be seen as a green light by the feds to conduct raids," continued Woodson. ASA has and will continue to work with both federal officials in the Obama Administration as well as local and state officials in Nevada to address the safe distribution of medical marijuana as a public health issue.

The DEA is currently being directed by Bush-appointee Michele Leonhart, who served as deputy under DEA Administrator Karen Tandy; both were responsible for more than 200 federal raids in California and other medical marijuana states during the Bush Administration. Against objections from medical marijuana advocates, President Obama nominated Leonhart to head the DEA under his Justice Department, but her Senate confirmation has yet to be scheduled.

Further Information: Justice Department memorandum from October 2009 regarding medical marijuana: http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/19

###
Location: 
Las Vegas, NV
United States

Kentucky Republican Governor Candidate Supports Legal Hemp

Kentucky Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett has come out in support of legalizing industrial hemp production. That makes him the second gubernatorial candidate in the state to embrace the idea. Perennial independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith has called for its legalization for years.

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/philmoffett.jpg
Phil Moffett
Moffett is one of at least three Republicans contending for the party's nod to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Steven Beshear. The gubernatorial election is set for 2011.

Moffett, who along with US Senate candidate Rand Paul is part of the tea party insurgency within the Bluegrass State's Republican Party, came out on the issue in response to a question during a meeting with libertarian voters last Thursday and reaffirmed his support in an interview with the Associated Press last Friday.

He is ready to "go to the carpet" to legalize hemp production, he told the AP. "We're going to have to challenge the federal authority to keep us from growing a legitimate crop," he said. "Industrial hemp is not a drug, so it shouldn't be regulated by the DEA or any other federal authority."

Moffett said he supported hemp production both for economic reasons and as a means of reducing the power of the federal government. "It's a farm product that can be used in a number of different ways to create jobs, but it's also a way to get the federal government farther off our back," Moffett said Friday. "Right now, the Drug Enforcement Agency does not allow hemp to be grown, and it would be a great test case for us to fight against the federal government to be able grow a completely legitimate crop that the federal government has decided they don't believe is worthy of planting."

Moffett doesn't favor marijuana legalization and he opposes medical marijuana "on an official level," he said. "But on a personal level, if someone were dying of cancer and marijuana was the only way they could find comfort, I'm not going to get in the way," he said. "There's a humanitarian aspect to this."

While industrial hemp may be imported for use in this country, American farmers are barred from growing it by the federal government. Nine states -- Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia -- have passed legislation removing barriers to its production or research, according to the industry group Vote Hemp.

(This article was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

KY
United States

Marc Emery Prosecutor Now Says Legalize Marijuana

(Update: On Saturday, September 18, Emery supporters are organizing Free Marc Emery rallies worldwide. Read the listings and other information here. Supporters are also calling on the Canadian government to repatriate Emery into the Canadian justice system, a right they have under treaty.)

In a Seattle Times op-ed Saturday, former US Attorney for the Western District of Washington John McKay defected to the other side. As the federal prosecutor in Seattle, McKay oversaw the indictment and prosecution of Canadian marijuana seed seller and pot advocate Marc Emery, who now sits in an American federal detention facility awaiting the formal handing down of a five-year prison sentence later this month.

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/john-mckay.jpg
better late than never: John McKay
But while he thinks Emery and most pot-smokers are "idiots," McKay has come to see the futility of continuing to enforce marijuana prohibition. "As Emery's prosecutor and a former federal law-enforcement official, however, I'm not afraid to say out loud what most of my former colleagues know is true: Our marijuana policy is dangerous and wrong and should be changed through the legislative process to better protect the public safety," he wrote.

Marijuana prohibition "has utterly failed," McKay concluded. "The demand for marijuana in this country has for decades outpaced the ability of law enforcement to eliminate it," he declared, ready to throw in the towel.

"Brave agents and cops continue to risk their lives in a futile attempt to enforce misguided laws that do not match the realities of our society," he wrote. "These same agents and cops, along with prosecutors, judges and jailers, know we can't win by arresting all those involved in the massive importation, growth or distribution of marijuana, nor by locking up all the pot smokers."

Pot prohibition fills the pockets of "Mexican and other international drug cartels and gangs," even though marijuana is nowhere nearly as harmful to users as other illegal drugs, McKay wrote.

"So the policy is wrong, the law has failed, the public is endangered, no one in law enforcement is talking about it and precious few policymakers will honestly face the soft-on-crime sound bite in their next elections. What should be done?" McKay asks.

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/emeryprotest1.jpg
Marc Emery
It is a rhetorical question, of course, and McKay has answers: Recognize that the real public safety danger to Americans is not from marijuana but from prohibition, build policy on "sound science, not myth," and... drum roll please... "We should give serious consideration to heavy regulation and taxation of the marijuana industry (an industry that is very real and dangerously underground). We should limit pot's content of the active ingredient THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), regulate its sale to adults who are dumb enough to want it and maintain criminal penalties for sales, possession or use by minors, drivers and boaters."

Not to worry, though, McKay assures his erstwhile partners in the prohibition racket. There will be years to come of extirpating criminality from the former black market, and that means job security: "DEA and its law-enforcement partners must therefore remain well equipped and staffed to accomplish this task: to protect our families from truly dangerous drugs and to drive drug cartels, gangs and dope dealers from our society."

Still, a remarkably candid confession from a man who made a living prosecuting marijuana offenders. Too bad he didn't find himself on the road to Damascus when he still had the prosecutors' powers.

Seattle, WA
United States

Ponzi Scheme Strikes Drug Enforcement Agents

Michele Leonhart's nomination to head the Drug Enforcement Administration has been complicated by a ponzi scheme that has ensnared DEA agents and officials. "Given Leonhart's raids against medical marijuana dispensaries and her alleged role in covering up the House of Death scandal, it would be funny if what sinks her nomination is some retirement Ponzi scheme," said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Publication/Source: 
The Huffington Post (CA)
URL: 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/27/ponzi-scheme-strikes-dea-_n_697264.html

DEA Seeks Ebonics Translators to Decipher Black Peoples' Phone Conversations

Ever since NAACP endorsed marijuana legalization in California, there's been a raging debate over whether the drug war targets black communities. Looks like the DEA just settled it.

ATLANTA  — Federal agents are seeking to hire Ebonics translators to help interpret wiretapped conversations involving targets of undercover drug investigations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration recently sent memos asking companies that provide translation services to help it find nine translators in the Southeast who are fluent in Ebonics, Special Agent Michael Sanders said Monday. [AP]

But don't get the wrong idea. This has nothing to do with the drug war being racist. They just need expert testimony to help win drug cases:

"You can maybe get a general idea of what they're saying, but you have to understand that this has to hold up in court," he said. "You need someone to say, 'I know what they mean when they say 'ballin' or 'pinching pennies.'"

Wait, is that drug slang? As dumb as all of this sounds, I'm beginning to envision a very real risk of the DEA bringing some jackass into court to randomly redefine words and incriminate people who could've been talking about anything. If they start asking for search warrants on the grounds that 'pinching pennies' means laundering money, that's a total nightmare and it's exactly the kind of crap we should probably expect from this.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School

StopTheDrugWar Video Archive