Obama’s Pick for Top Drug War Enforcer Needs to Answer Some Tough Questions

By Paul Armentano, The Hill

This Wednesday, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will be considering Michele Leonhart for the position of director of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Several organizations that lobby on drug policy issues have voiced serious concerns regarding Ms. Leonhart’s nomination.

As Interim DEA director, Ms. Leonhart has overseen dozens of federal raids on medical marijuana providers, producers, and laboratory facilities that engage in the testing of cannabis potency and quality. These actions took place in states that have enacted laws allowing for the production and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes, and they are inconsistent with an October 19, 2009 Department of Justice memo recommending federal officials no longer “focus … resources … on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”