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If the DEA Can't Tell Us the Difference Between Marijuana and Heroin, Who Can?

If you haven't yet seen DEA boss Michele Leonhart's frickin ridiculous congressional testimony last Thursday (or even if you have), please click over to Huffington Post where you'll find me ranting about it. 99% of the time when a drug warrior says something silly it doesn't become a big media story, but this one made the cut and for good reason. Check it out, then send the link to somebody cool.

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It would help more to send the link to the uncool

They're the ones who need a lesson in reality.

Seriously, anyone who is unable to differentiate between heroin/crack/meth and cannabis is in desperate need of a check up from the neck up.

serious questions overdue

I find this remarkable in that the DEA is being questioned over this at all. 

Does this mean the drug schedule is being called into question? And who has final power over that anyway? Well it's good to see this law being questioned at the higher levels and I hope this goes somewhere. 

Paul, Mr. Polis is a true

Paul, Mr. Polis is a true friend of freedom who has promoted an end to the insanity of prohibition for a number of years.

BTW, I absolutely hate you screen name. Human beings just don't come any worse than Pol Pot. Every time I see one of your posts I wonder if you actually know who that particular mass murdering enemy of freedom was.

Leonhart Between a Rock and Contempt of Congress

What a weird web the DEA weaves when it practices to deceive.

DEA Director Michelle Leonhart’s little dilemma is unique.  Under Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998: H11225: the Drug Czar, DEA Chief, et al. shall

“take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that–

  1. is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
  2. has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;”

H11225 is the infamous law on the books that enables the prohibitionists to lie about everything involving marijuana or any other drug to preserve the drug’s illegality.

But does H11225 protect someone who is lying to Congress?  This question has not been tested in the courts.  But it may explain Leonhart’s pitiful performance on C-Span. 

Fortunately for Michele Leonhart, her laughable testimony can be construed as merely unfathomable ignorance.  Even when she says ‘all schedule I drugs are addictive’ (most schedule I drugs are non-addictive psychedelics), Michele believes she’s covered when she pleads ‘police officer’.  Apparently, at least according to Ms. Leonhart, a police officer isn’t supposed to know any science. 

People go to jail in the in the United States over possession of substances whose true physical and mental effects are completely unknown to many police, prosecutors, judges, jailers, legislators, and parents.  Some substances like marijuana are on the least harmful end of the drug spectrum, and some aren’t.  Under this collective system, people go to jail because illicit drugs ‘might’ be harmful, not because they are.  And that is the measure of a true public hysteria.


The DEA is not part of the

The DEA is not part of the ONDCP.

DEA is Fruit from a Diseased ONDCP Tree

DEA see, DEA do.  We can’t expect the insular Leonhart to contradict ONDCP propaganda.  

Prohibition hangs from slender threads, and its survival depends on a continuous stream of lies accepted by a gullible public eager to believe the worst things they hear about medicinal herbs and some drugs.

Thinking Clearly's picture

FDA approval

2."has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;”


Here is the rub  -   The FDA does not approve the medical uses of plants.

Only drugs.

All illegal drugs in Schedule

All illegal drugs in Schedule I are addictive?! Mrs. Leonhart, you are an unequivocal liar.

Here is a list of non-addictive drugs on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule I
Ibogaine (can CURE heroin/opiate addiction)
Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms, often a life-changing experience).

And yet methamphetamine is on Schedule II? Let us remember that the CSA was signed into law by Richard Nixon himself. We are living, suffering under his policy. Wikipedia it.

Thank you, Scott Morgan and Jared Polis for your efforts.


I agree with you,,how could they hold up any laws passed by this criminal,trying to plant evidence at the room of the attempted assasinator of ?,,who was it,,wallice?,,not to mention watergate,lol

Leonhart the Dinosaur

This interview was so shockingly frank. It mimicked many parental Q&As with their children in the u.s. No real answers, just do what we say because that's the way it is. Why is cannabis illegal? Because it's illegal! Is the usual shrill response. End of discussion. But not forever...

Thinking Clearly's picture

Pandora's Box

The total political implications of Michele Leonhart's statements are this:

The DEA and the Government itself are guilty of erroneously arresting and imprisoning thousands of people for a plant mislabeled as a dangerous drug. A plant that is less dangerous than the french fries you eat with your burger.

That is a rather large implication.

I assume Michele Leonhart would rather leave that Pandora's box closed.

I think its too late.

i dont understand

correct me if im mistaken but this all comes off as anti heroin to me, im not trying to start an argument, please but i'd like to know if that's what your point is or not? 


i am pro heroin. heroin, heroin use, manufacture, sales, legalization etc. is probably my main passion in life. uhm, this whole DEA episode thing that has blown up in recent weeks has been really frustrating for me because it seems like now everybody is attacking heroin, praising marijuana and essentially, if what my interpretations of this are accurate - essentially what i see is the advocating of the prohibition of heroin - as well as any drug that isn't pot - especially the drugs the DEA chick spoke about.


If that's the case, i would think a website that advocates to stop the "drug war" would be the wrong place to voice such an opinion - considering there are thousands im sure, of websites for strictly marijuana enthusiasm. I'm sure anti-any drug not called marijuana enthusiasm can be shared at your local "Dank Johnny's Pot Spot" or "Jimbos Reefer Madness" web sites and forums. I think that, if your against the end of heroin prohibition you're at the wrong website. I truly don't mean to offend, though I can see where some of my remarks may come off as offensive - let me assure you it's not. I am very proudly a man with STDs, nerve damage (from messed up shots), have had absolutely dangerously large abcesses (from bad shots) uhm who very proudly will nod off any place any where infront of anyone with a pro heroin t-shirt and the words BANG DOPE written on my knuckles. I am absolutely delighted to joke about things, to make light of things and when i say Jimbo's Reefer Madness or whatever, I mean no offense, i myself would love to be a regular at a site called "Nod off with your top off" or "hot shot aneurysm" though i dont know if youd get the latter... anyway, there is plenty of pot elitism and pot bigotry in the physical and internet drug reform media however lets hold the places that purport to be against the drug war, not exclusively the pot war, accountable to respecting all of the victims of the drug war. Uh, naturally I wouldn't be saying this if this were Jimbos Reefer Zone, but I wouldn't be reading anything at Jimbos Reefer Zone as I'm sure many folks here aren't regulars at my favorite heroin legalization websites. (they do exist, one run by a published author with a phd  so now were not zombies with airborne aids or anything - atleast not most of us and ill leave it at that.) nevertheless, i really do hope you guys werent trying to bury heroin or meth or crack. itd be really ignorant and a god forsaken shame, oh higher power grant me strength lol!!!! 


i mean, in addition, and for your consideration - i mean, the woman avoids making a negative comparison. okay. well, the general concept is that its more dangerous.... uh, but we've all made a point not to believe what the people who've said that say. nevertheless, we wouldn't want to compare heroin to marijuana if we were to weigh the positives. if your a pot fanatic, all i can suggest is, to know why, go and discover why, and then, trust me, you will know why.

Cocky Icarus

Look guy, I'm not pro or anti opiates, in the same way I'm not pro or anti dynamite. It depends how it's being used. The facts are that you can die from heroin misuse, and ancillary health problems, i.e. dirty needles, physical addiction, crimes involved for getting money for a fix. Unless you are a millionaire a smack habit will slow you down in life. A heroin or opiate high can be very powerful and that is why England and a few other countries use it legally for patients with intractable pain. I think you are a fool for making heroin your passion, though, because sooner or later it is going to master you.

Not to give you a hard time,

Not to give you a hard time, but how does an inanimate entity such as heroin (a pharmacologically active powder) have the ability to "master" anyone? Heroin has no will of its own, and thus cannot make one's decisions for them. These are exactly the type of superstitious attitudes that need to be checked in regard to drugs. And if you think the physiological danger profile of a substance should be the determining factor in its legality, you're just as naive as the rest of the drug warrior sheep.

Boy Scout

"Not to give you a hard time, but how does an inanimate entity such as heroin (a pharmacologically [sic] active powder) have the ability to "master" anyone? Heroin has no will of its own, and thus cannot make one's decisions for them."

What shocking hubris! What high-mindedness! Why should terminal cancer incapacitate anyone from playing racquetball? After all, necrotic cells are not you and "thus cannot make one's decisions for them."They can't dictate your behavior...Why should a broken arm keep you from hang gliding? After all, the arm joint has no will of its own, it's not you, and thus cannot make one's decisions. It can't effect the choices you make. Why should starvation keep a Bangladeshi farmer from tap dancing? After all, not eating for a week can't effect who he is and thus cannot make his decisions for him.

Sorry, guy, your idealism is pristine but useless in the real world. The cellular structures in the nervous system of a junky are orders of magnitude away from the non-addicted. A junk sick person thinks only of making the intolerable pain of withdrawal abate, every other aspect of his/her life take a back seat. Although it is said that nictotine withdrawal  is even more of a pain than all the other drugs, including meth, few need to car jack to buy a pack of Kools. And if heroin were legal the stigma of crime would also abate.


One of the main problems is ignorance.  If people knew "heroin" was actually a dirty form of the drug diacetyl-morphine, maybe the arguments of the feds would make them look like people trying to keep the medication from those, of us, who suffer from intractable pain, so they can profit from the illegal drug market.  Hell, I cant even get my doctor to write me four tramadol a day. So, I get four hours sleep a night because of ignorance  That same ignorance is influencing the above discussions.  It affects the general population, as well as most of the drug warriors.  It keeps me from having anything more than an almost tolerable day, every day, that I can expect for the rest of my miserable life. 


Controlled drugs?  Why?  So some crooked big shots, politicians, or whoever can make more money and cause the cost of the treatment of pain to remain so high that only the rich can afford to pay for Oxycontin, or pay off the local policeman, or DEA to leave them alone?!  Screw that!   I wish they were smarter.  Or, even, maybe, half as smart as they think they are!



Heroin should no more be class one than amphetamines or cocaine!  They, all, have medical uses.  Many of the class one drugs could be medically useful.  But, then, that means they don't fit the definition to be in the class!  The other catch 22 is that once a drug is put on that list, by law enforcement, it cannot be used, legally for medical research.  Because the act makes it illegal to use in research. All I can hope is that the ignorant jack-asses, that make these rules, can someday be in intractable pain and find themselves unable to get the doctors to write them adequate pain medication.  But, then again, they know where to get it, off the street! 


Then again, the CSA is a good vehicle to keep the private, for profit prisons running smoothly!  More profits for the investors!  How can anyone sleep at night knowing they profit from caging up men?!


Call me,


Thinking Clearly's picture

DEA didn't answer a marijuana question

Wasn't a heroin question. It was a marijuana question.

So, you like Leonhart's answer? Didn't quite hear ya there.

It shows just how insular the prohibs are

...that they think the circular logic comprising these  'legalese' answers are going to be accepted without challenge. They're not used to hearing that sort of thing in their 'Party Line' structured  echo chamber.

Like certain religious sects, whose members don't associate with most of society, for fear of being 'contaminated', the prohibitionists have become so insulated from the real world that it's taken them a while to realize something:  they've realized that they are in large part irrelevant to modern society.

It's bypassed them, in the form of a generational shift that has removed the audience that was receptive to their lies, and has been replaced with one that expects nothing BUT lies from government.

That kind of ingrained cynicism does not accept information from authority figures without running it through their own filters, many of which are derived from real life. And in doing so have realized that government cannot ever be considered unbiased. Particularly when their own life experiences (like using illicit drugs)  have taught them that government will lie for its' own reasons having nothing to do with their it does every time it pontificates on how cannabis is 'dangerous'.

It's getting harder and harder for the prohibs to to find supine, ignorant, easily suckered audiences when it comes time to disseminating propaganda. And so they try to get cagey with their answers, naively thinking so long as they cross all the t's and dot the i's, in bureaucratese, they can keep the farce going,  not understanding that in this Information Age, as is so often the case, "The Internet is forever."...and their gaffes just keep echoing.


I like your perspective a lot

I like your perspective a lot but as a society we are not where you claim we are: "Like certain religious sects, whose members don't associate with most of society, for fear of being 'contaminated', the prohibitionists have become so insulated from the real world that it's taken them a while to realize something:  they've realized that they are in large part irrelevant to modern society." This is not true for a vast segment of society who are partially sympathetic to prohibition. I would call them throw-backs and unadvanced thinkers, I wouldn't party with them unless there was a free buffet table, but I'm saying just walk down the street of any busy city and you will see a lot of conformists who are afraid of cannabis and other illicit compounds. The vanguard thinkers about drug policy are doing better than ever before, but your celebratory rant is premature. Don't believe me? Walk down the street of any busy city and ask a random passerby where you can buy some cannabis. Eight times out of ten they will be afraid and dismissive.  

I like your perspective a lot

I like your perspective a lot but as a society we are not where you claim we are: "Like certain religious sects, whose members don't associate with most of society, for fear of being 'contaminated', the prohibitionists have become so insulated from the real world that it's taken them a while to realize something:  they've realized that they are in large part irrelevant to modern society." This is not true for a vast segment of society who are partially sympathetic to prohibition. I would call them throw-backs and unadvanced thinkers, I wouldn't party with them unless there was a free buffet table, but I'm saying just walk down the street of any busy city and you will see a lot of conformists who are afraid of cannabis and other illicit compounds. The vanguard thinkers about drug policy are doing better than ever before, but your celebratory rant is premature. Don't believe me? Walk down the street of any busy city and ask a random passerby where you can buy some cannabis. Eight times out of ten they will be afraid and dismissive.  

Another Patriot grills Leonhart

If you want to see another member of congress interrogate Michele Leonhart with similar results, watch this video.


Congressman Steve Cohen from Tennessee does a masterful job of exposing Leonhart's ineptness, incompetence and woefully uninformed of basic facts. It's not every day that our elected officials hold the DEA accountable. In fact, Congressman Cohen even references his colleague Jeff Sessions as a suck up to the DEA. I contacted Cohen's office to praise him for taking on the DEA's war on marijuana. Those of us who are concerned about our government's war on Marijuana should contact Congressman Steve Cohen (202) 225-3265 to support his integrity on these important issues.  


The twilight zone i'm living in is hilarious,,i live in a rural county in ky,,(target zone alpha 1),where theres no ymca,no hospital,but they somehow allocated funds for a pathways,lol,,and the youths are realizing by seeing all the local corruption in law enforcement that the new prescription prohibition economics are a disaster,the psychology is very ancient and well known,,that if you try to direct any free people as to what and when they can ingest into their bodies there will be defiance,because it/s a solid form of enslavement.the divide and conquer atmosphere is at it's finest here.

The DEA needs to wake up and smell the cannabis


Black market producers happily spray all sorts of household chemicals on cannabis; so that it; sticks together, weighs more, and to "hype it up". The black market doesn't care about cannabis as medicine or the people that buy from them, their main interest is money period and they don't want it legal.

 The black market has no quality control. Ending prohibition is a much healthier public alternative, than what is out there; do you really want children to get cannabis laced with Draino or god knows what else? No? Then by all means keep it illegal because that's what is out there, on the streets right now, and any kid can get black market cannabis easier than they can get alcohol. 

 The anxiety and mental effects people have from cannabis; is directly related to it's illegality, if a person is normally law abiding and they fear arrest; of course they are going to be anxious if they break the law. That is a direct cause and effect that's not related to the substance itself, but the psychology of the individual and a substances legal status.  Blaming cannabis is simply cause and effect by correlation only..."Well, this is what they were doing; so this is what must be at fault." If the law was really handled like this; then guns and bullets would be in prison and not the people that used them...because the guns and bullets are at fault not the person...sure it sounds really stupid, but that's what happens; cannabis gets blamed not the person. Not very rational to do that now is it? But that's what is happening.  This is what is out there; thanks to the DEA and backwards ancient laws. Drugs are a health matter; not a civil matter.  Alcohol is statistically worse than many illegal drugs, and it is handled both medically and on the civic level.  Why exactly, cannot other drugs such as cannabis be handled as such? It works really well in the Netherlands, regulating like alcohol, is the only rational choice in a rational civilized society, picking and choosing some things to be illegal; over others that are more harmful to individuals and society, it shows how outdated prohibition and current regulation actually is. To think kids are not smart enough to see and understand the irony in public policy, is a gross underestimation of their intelligence, and undermines the agencies own propaganda directed at them. They grow to not believe or trust the government or law enforcement at all...not exactly a good side effect is it? My son not even 13 years old; out of the blue leaving the beach one day said: "Why is alcohol legal and marijuana not?" I said "Why do you ask?" He said "Because the drunk people at the beach were acting stupid and causing trouble, but the kids at my school that everyone knows smoke marijuana; are quiet and do what the teachers ask them too."    The DEA says talk to your kids about drugs...How exactly is one supposed to answer a question like that?  Take the DEA approach; and say they are both bad? or one is and not the other because of laws? say the government doesn't know what they are doing? Well?  Twenty years ago; I used to smoke cannabis, so I know all of the arguments the same as the POTUS did and does. So his walking the fence on this issue is becoming annoying, if he really wants health reform; then a rational federal cannabis policy discussion is a good place to start. I don't want to pretend it's 1950 like most politicians. The world is 100 times more dangerous out there now, thanks to failed drug policy; with all the gangs and guns. Where is the illegal importation black market of alcohol? Where are the gang members on the corner with mason jars of moonshine? Exactly, there aren't any because alcohol is regulated and taxed.  Which is safer for kids? A curious kid taking a drag off a joint that can't possibly kill them, or trying to make it to school through gang territory?  Changing public and civil policy on drugs the streets will be safe again; but by all means keep supporting gangs and black markets with prohibition, by all means politicians; don't do American citizens any favors...just keep throwing billions of tax dollars in the fire.

agree jetblack

I can only see one motive for these prohibition economic pushes,,that's profits for big pharmacy,the prison industrial complex,,and certain politicians,,if they defend it by the increase in white collar jobs?,then that's not even logical?because reason and logic are not even in the equation


So. . .

Leonhart: Drugs are bad, mkay?

And if--

--Drugs are bad, mkay?

But the--

--Drugs are bad, mkay?

Morons like this are vastly overpaid and so long as they get their paycheck they will perpetuate this disgusting charade of willful ignorance.

Michele Leonhart's comments

to all you drugies, drugs are bad. get it? People that need to use them for their daily thrill are pathetic. There are a number of recreational users that seem to be fine with their usage but a goodly percentage that are not. Michele Leonhart's comments (picked by Odumba), reflect poorly on her, but then, she is not a doctor, she is a law enforcement administrator.  Basically, a cop was asked a medical question...which would be as stupid as asking a doctor a question about traffic law.  BTW, an argument against ETOH is not an argument in support of legalizing/normalizing another drug. And anybody that thinks heroin, meth etc should be legal is a total f'n idiot.

You've got to be kidding me

This is a joke, right? You're parodying the usual purblind prohibitionist, aren't you? Because as the 'head' of an organization whose only raison d'etre is to enforce the drug laws, she ought to know something about  the substances she is supposed to (I can't help but laugh) 'control'.

If the laws are based upon how destructive the substances are (the laws are not, they were an result of long-dead self-serving bureaucrats making medical decisions, in some cases injecting racial bias into the mix) , based upon toxicity (cannabis has NONE, no 'LD-50', no recorded deaths from consuming it alone, etc.) then it should be obvious which ones are the less deleterious. Information she should have deep and extensive knowledge of, to justify her continued budget...and employment

To use your analogy, you shouldn't ask your dentist what's in the composition of your metal fillings in your teeth, since he didn't make them...despite what damage they can do to the body (as in mercury poisoning).

The Congressmen had valid points to make...and you evidently don't.

agree nemo

I think future statistics will show that many hypocrisies of these outdated,profoundly self serving bureaucratic prohibitionist economic influxes into specifically rural areas,(ky,etc),will have been so ridiculously obsolete way before action for the people will have taken county in ky,,no ymca,,no hospital,,but somehow they allocated the funds for a pathways?,,lmao


replied to wrong person


Methamphetamine is a legal, class two drug! As is cocaine!  So, I guess the doctors that prescribe it to people for medical illnesses are f'kin stupid too!?  Nothing like ignorance to prove a point!


Leave medicine to the doctors and have the LEs stop playing doctor.   The law enforcement people did not get enough education to be making medical decisions.

I see alot of fighting back and forth

Me personally I have children and dont do any drugs dont drink. I did experiment with all sorts of stuff in my teen years. Do I think any drugs should be illegal no not at all. Its a freedom issue I stand for freedom and personal choice. Do laws stop people from using drugs no. Illegal drugs are what cause the crime the most addictive drug there is is alcohol based on the withdrawal of every drug alcohol is the most likely to have a fatal withdrawal that and benzodiazepines which effect the same gaba a receptors in the brain as alcohol. All the most dangerous drugs are in some form legal for instance opana is 4 times stronger than and more addictive than heroin but its a schedule 2. methamphetamine salts are legal to even young children with whats called ADHD. Illegalization of drugs is what cause the street crime the gangs dont have much funding with out drugs thats thier staple. Since when should a government tell any one what good and bad for them? In clinical settings its noted even people in opiate management no matter what that opiate is will generally live a regular life expectancy. The reason most herion users over does and this accounts for 75% of over does is the purity of the drug changes all the time so its impossible for some one to take the same does day to day. Either way all drugs just harm your self and no one else. I dont advocate sending anyone to prison for making a bad personal choice. It doesnt just stop at drugs wake up they are starting to have a war on junk food. They want to tax that and limit the serving sizes of that you can get at a movie theater. When will the assult on personal liberty and responsibility stop? I belive you have a free will and are entitled to that freedom and as long as your not hurting anyone else go for it. If we regulated all drugs and set an age limit like 21 less kids would have access to these drugs. I could go on and on be you guys that smoke pot all the power to you. The guy that loves herion I respect your personal choice even though it doesnt match up with what I would do we are all on the same side.

LEAP_Speaker's picture

Chief of DEA knows nothing about drugs, what's new

This is the Chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and she knows nothing about drugs, she simply says what the government has been brainwashing people with for 40+ years, Drugs Are Bad, Just Say No.

This is what is wrong in Congress, and here in Arizona, elected officials know nothing about drugs, especially marijuana, and refuse to ask groups like LEAP.

When I testified before the Arizona House Ways and Means Committee on the 300% medical
marijuana tax, one member said you can get 160 joints from an ounce, I told them
they would be really, really small. Another member ask how many grams were in an

These are the people making our laws, and they know nothing about the drugs they are locking people up for using, that's scary..... That's really scary....

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