National petition calls on the president to replace DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart with someone who will uphold his mandate that administration decisions be guided by science instead of ideology and politics.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The nation’s largest marijuana policy organization, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), is calling on President Barack Obama to fire the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Michele Leonhart, and replace her with someone who will uphold his mandate that administration decisions be guided by science instead of ideology and politics.
[quote_right] “It is irresponsible and unacceptable for a government official charged with enforcing our drug laws to deny the facts surrounding the nation’s two most popular recreational drugs.”[/quote_right]
In a speech to the Major Counties Sheriffs Association last week, Leonhart criticized the president for acknowledging the fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol in terms of its impact on the consumer. During a 2012 House oversight hearing, Leonhart refused to answer questions from U.S. Rep. Jared Polis about whether heroin and crack cocaine are more harmful than marijuana. Under her watch, the DEA has also obstructed attempts to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act — a classification reserved for the most dangerous drugs, which includes heroin.
Studies by the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine, and countless other medical and scientific organizations and researchers have consistently confirmed that alcohol is more toxic, more addictive, more harmful to the body, and more likely to lead to violent behavior than marijuana. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attribute approximately 40,000 U.S. deaths per year to alcohol use alone, including more than 1,500 from acute alcohol poisoning, whereas it attributes zero deaths to marijuana, and there has never been a fatal marijuana overdose in history. In 1988, DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young reviewed the scientific evidence surrounding marijuana and ruled that the substance was “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”
The Marijuana Policy Project has launched a Change.org petition calling on the president to fire Leonhart and replace her with someone who will base decisions on science and evidence instead of politics and ideology. The petition is available here:
Statement from MPP Director of Federal Policies Dan Riffle:
“Whether Ms. Leonhart is ignorant of the facts or intentionally disregarding them, she is clearly unfit for her current position. By any objective measure, marijuana is less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and society. It is irresponsible and unacceptable for a government official charged with enforcing our drug laws to deny the facts surrounding the nation’s two most popular recreational drugs.
“The DEA administrator’s continued refusal to recognize marijuana’s relative safety compared to alcohol and other drugs flies in the face of the president’s commitment to prioritizing science over ideology and politics. She is neglecting the basic obligations of her job and fundamentally undermining her employer’s mission. This would be grounds for termination in the private sector, and the consequences for Ms. Leonhart should be no different.”