The head of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is now openly criticizing Barack Obama for his recent comments over the question of marijuana legalization, according to multiple reports.
The Boston Herald reports it has sources who heard DEA chief Michele Leonhart "slam" Obama at last week's National Sheriffs' Association winter meeting in Washington. The Herald reports the sheriffs in Bristol County, Massachusetts, and Kern County, California, both reported that Leonhart was critical of the president's claim that marijuana's affects are no different than alcohol's. Here's an excerpt:
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson said he was thrilled to hear the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration take her boss to task.
“She’s frustrated for the same reasons we are,” Hodgson said. “She said she felt the administration didn’t understand the science enough to make those statements. She was particularly frustrated with the fact that, according to her, the White House participated in a softball game with a pro-legalization group. ... But she said her lowest point in 33 years in the DEA was when she learned they’d flown a hemp flag over the Capitol on July 4. The sheriffs were all shocked. This is the first time in 28 years I’ve ever heard anyone in her position be this candid.”
Kern County sheriff Donny Youngblood told the Herald Leonhart received a "standing ovation" from the law enforcement agents at the convention.
The Huffington Post also reported on Leonhart's alleged remarks, and received a statement from a DEA spokesperson.
"With regards to the Herald story, I think its important to clarify that the Administrator's remarks were not at against the President, as the story portrays, but continued messages that the DEA is not in support of legalization -- and neither is the Administration," DEA spokeswoman Dawn Deardon told the Post.
In the most recent issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, former White House drug czar John P. Walters wrote about the comments Obama made that supposedly had Leonhart angry. Waters called for "dedicated public servants" at places like the DEA to "speak up." Here's an excerpt:
Obamacare is in disarray, and Syria is on fire, but marijuana is important? Obama offers the presidential version of a shrug. “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
While he calls smoking and toking “a bad habit and a vice,” this doesn’t seem to mean much of anything—certainly nothing serious. But it is serious. The president is cutting the legs out from under every parent and schoolteacher and clergyman across the country who is trying to steer kids away from illegal drugs. Our “coolest president” ever has made drug education into a punch line.
As it stands, the law will not be enforced (by executive directive) and the criminal drug market will be augmented by the open production and sale of marijuana. Moreover, Obama speculated that legalizing “hard” drugs, including cocaine and meth, might ultimately be a matter of creating a “negotiated” or “calibrated” dose for safer use. From a policy perspective, that leaves you with treating the wounded through programs now consolidated under the Obamacare banner. The result is appalling. Allow more and more poison to harm more and more families, destroy the respectable basis for prevention education that deters the use of these poisons, and just treat the victims, again and again and again.
As absurd as the administration’s policy has become, it is even more striking that no serving national leader, Democrat or Republican, has called the administration to task. Where is the tradition of President Reagan and the bipartisan work against the drug problem that was led for years by senators Biden, Leahy, Feinstein, Hatch, Grassley, and Sessions and representatives Rangel, Cummings, Hoyer, Issa, Ros-Lehtinen, and Wolf? Why don’t the dedicated public servants at such places as the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Drug Enforcement Administration—those who know the truth, have dedicated their professional lives to protecting Americans from substance abuse, and even risk their lives daily—speak up?
Read the whole thing here.