By Allan Lengel
Michele Leonhart/dea photo
The war on drugs has turned into a war of words.
The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FlEOA)is publicly defending DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, who criticized President Obama’s remarks downplaying the dangers of pot. He said it was no more dangerous than alcohol.
The Marijuana Policy Project has called for her head and is petitioning the White House to fire her.
In a press release that mocks the marijuana organization, FLEOA stated: “The pot-loving MPP group concluded, perhaps while under the influence of a mind altering substance, that Administrator Leonhart should be replaced because she allegedly disagreed with comments made by President Obama.”
“Demonstrating an alarming form of hypocrisy, the MPP seeks to trample on the Administrator’s freedom of speech — a Constitutional right — while trumpeting their new-found Colorado freedom to get high in public and spread the stench of their smoke,” the press release said.
FLEOA National President Jon Adler said in a statement: “Administrator Leonhart is one of the best enforcement leaders in our country, and she continues to do a commendable job leading the premiere agency that enforces our nation’s drug laws.”
Updated Tuesday, 4:55 p.m.
Dan Riffle, Director of Federal Policies for the Marijuana Policy Projected responded with this statement:
Much like Ms. Leonhart, the FLEOA doesn’t have their facts straight. We’re not calling for her to be fired because she disagrees with President Obama. We’re calling for her to be fired because she either doesn’t understand or is intentionally ignoring basic scientific facts, and it’s her job to make decisions based on those facts. Marijuana is less addictive, less toxic, less harmful to the body, and unlike alcohol, doesn’t cause violent behavior. It is objectively less harmful than alcohol, yet Ms. Leonhart has obstructed efforts to remove marijuana from its current classification as a “Schedule I” drug alongside heroin and methamphetamine. In other words, she is disregarding the obligations of her job, and undermining her employer’s commitment to scientific integrity in policy-making.
We’re also not trying to trample her First Amendment freedom of speech rights. If Ms. Leonhart would like to proclaim the world is flat, that’s her right, but the American public shouldn’t be force to hand over $165,000 of their hard-earned tax dollars to pay her an exorbitant salary for doing so.
One thing the FLEOA is correct about is that under Ms. Leonhart’s leadership the DEA has amassed an “impressive record.” They have an impressive record of giving guns to Mexican drug cartels, using NSA data to illegally spy on Americans, concealing evidence from defendants, prosecutors and judges, and jailing someone without food or water for days costing taxpayers $4.1 million in a legal judgment.
Understandably, Americans aren’t very impressed with that record, which is perhaps why more than 18,000 people have signed our petition calling for her removal. I urge the FLEOA to join them.