Senate Unanimously Confirms Leonhart as DEA Head

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #665)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

The US Senate December 22 unanimously confirmed Michele Leonhart as DEA adminstrator. Leonhart, a long-time DEA veteran, had served as acting administrator since late in the Bush administration and was nominated to head the agency by the Obama administration.

[inline:mleonhart.jpg align=right caption="Michele Leonhart"]Drug reformers and concerned others had attempted last this year to block her nomination, citing her supervision of numerous raids on medical marijuana providers when she was Special Agent in Chief in Los Angeles, her refusal to allow a Massachusetts academic permission to grow marijuana for research purposes, and her unsavory relationship with former DEA "supersnitch" Andrew Chambers.

But those efforts got no traction in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where senators failed to ask a single tough question raised by reformers. The only flak Leonhart got in the committee was from Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Herb Kohl (D-WI), who complained about strict DEA drug diversion programs that made it difficult for seniors in nursing homes to receive pain medications in a prompt and timely fashion.

Kohl went so far as to announce a hold on her nomination to block a floor vote because of the issue, but although Leonhart refused during her confirmation hearing to tell him when the DEA would respond on the issue, Kohl lifted the hold before the vote, allowing her confirmation to go ahead.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


This was a disservice to veterans and other patients. I am extremely upset that not one single Senator would ask Michele Nonhart a single question for her confirmation.

How did she ever graduate from college without taking science. It is another attempt at minority advancements in the face of poor performance. It is known within the DEA that she was appointed not on merit, but to pay back favors she has done for politicians. It is a sad state in this country when someone this unqualified has been placed into a position that continues a history of dishonor to truth and science and the horror in others lives that she has caused.

May God have mercy on her soul

Sat, 12/25/2010 - 7:05pm Permalink

I certainly hope the Obama Administration will make clear his opinion on suffering citizens being treated like criminals. Let us hope rescheduling of cannabis is right around the corner. It is a sad and cruel country that attacks the sick and suffering with insane, irrational policies.

Sat, 12/25/2010 - 7:19pm Permalink
William Aiken (not verified)

President's Obama choice of Michele Leonhart to head up the DEA is another example of his drug warrior mentality on display for political gain. Candidate Obama made some promising criticisms of the drug war. As President, he has made one positive policy decision  on drugs and that was to end the raids on California medical marijuana shops that complied with the State's law.

During his on-line town hall presentation, he dismissed the most popular question implying there was something wrong with the people who wanted him to clarify his position on the legalization of pot. He offered no explanation for his prohibitionist stance. Obama also reinstated the JAG grants used to fund massive drug raid operations all across the country. Whatever his motives were, President George W. Bush ended the JAG grants. Obama brought them back as a cheap badge to strengthen his get-tough-on-drugs credentials with the law and order types.

Ethan Nadelmann praised Obama at the New Mexico DPA conference as a different person than Bush. He's proven himself to be different all right. Different in that he has run away from his position as a candidate, which so many of us where excited about the 'Change" he promised. His appointment of Leonhart should serve as another strike against him. Until Obama lives up to some of the rhetoric he articulated as a Presidental candidate, drug reformers should be extremely critical of his drug policies in a vocal manner. The honeymoon is long over.

Sat, 12/25/2010 - 9:14pm Permalink
Cannabis Jonez (not verified)

The years have show" 1937-2011+?= cannabis laws" that our Nation drug war has not stoped nor impeded the flow of drugs nor cannabis,through out our nation, so, what's the point of continuing, useing the same process? it not working.The purpose of the drug war should be to stop the import of drugs/cannabis.. Cannabis growing in our nation should be a "states rights". Yet this drug war is not about stoping the flow of drug/cannabis, not  when we have banks that launder  four hundred and twenties billion dollars, no jall time for ??? ,admition by??? of guilt, and the fined to this Bank? One hundred and sixty million dollars! Our Police force.. should know better better? There' to protect"we the people"? there to protect the way we the people vote...? so much of these drug war laws are a replay   of The Nurnberg Justice Trials, they" Police,Judges,...D.E.A. .....know... I,m voting for states rights earmark the taxes for schools,health care, low income housing...collage fund for in state student.. yes change is hard yet change we must......Just say yes Grow your own free

Thu, 12/30/2010 - 2:30am Permalink

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