Newsbrief: Doctrinaire Drug Warrior Confirmed as DEA Head 8/8/03

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Karen Tandy was unanimously confirmed in the Senate as administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) late on July 31. She replaces Asa Hutchinson, who left the post to become undersecretary for border security in the Homeland Security Department. The Senate vote was without dissent, although in an earlier committee hearing Tandy had been berated by senators upset by her commitment to continue current aggressive DEA actions against medical marijuana patients and providers in California (

In written responses to committee members' questions on medical marijuana, Tandy denied that any such thing exists. Marijuana "has not been shown to have medical benefits," Tandy wrote, ignoring the 1999 Insitute of Medicine study commissioned by then ONDCP head Gen. Barry McCaffrey. She was "not personally familiar" with the study, she told an astonished Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL).

With Tandy at the helm, DEA appears poised to continue its hard-line path. The former federal prosecutor and Justice Department official whose latest claim to fame was engineering the takedown of the nation's bong industry in this spring's Operation Pipe Dream has vowed to "lead a multi-national attack on drug traffickers and their money supply." But it will be tough smashing cartels and thwarting terrorism at the same time the agency had to contend with dangerous characters like Tommy Chong and that legion of pot-smoking patients.

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Issue #299, 8/8/03 Note to Readers: Issue #300 and Name Change Coming Up, New Format | Bolivia's Morales Seeks Honest Enforcement Against Traffickers, Not Repression | Marinol Death Sentence: Oregon Man Denied Liver Transplant Because of Prescription -- He's Not the Only One | The Drug War's Daily Grind: One Month in One Police District in Washington, DC | August is Drug Reform Lobbying Month at Home! | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | Newsbrief: Justice Department Orders Government Lawyers to Appeal "Soft" Sentences, Report on Judges Who Issue Them | Newsbrief: Tulia Pardon Decision in Governor's Hands | Newsbrief: COMBAT Anti-Drug Tax Passes in Kansas City | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Tampa Police Enjoying Seized Cars | Newsbrief: Doctrinaire Drug Warrior Confirmed as DEA Head | Newsbrief: Kentucky Teacher Fired for Promoting Hemp Wins Settlement | Newsbrief: Argentina Leads Latin America in Jailed Drug Offenders | Newsbrief: Marijuana Reform Stalled in New Zealand | The Reformer's Calendar
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