Drug War

DEA Chief Bravely Speaks Out Against Pot Smoking


At her Senate confirmation hearing yesterday, Mike Riggs reports at The Daily Caller, acting DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said marijuana legalization would be socially disastrous, and even talking about it is irresponsible, since criticizing prohibition only encourages drug use:

What worries me is that we have seen—after years of stabilization of drug use—a spike. I believe that spike is directly related to all the conversation we are now hearing about the legalization of drugs.

Leonhart presumably was referring to recent increases in drug use measured by the federal government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The share of Americans 12 and older reporting past-year use of illegal drugs (overwhelmingly marijuana) in this survey was 15.1 percent last year. That's barely more than the 14.9 percent rate found when the survey began in 2002, but it is nine-tenths of a percentage point more than the 2008 number (a 6 percent increase!). According to Leonhart, all the talk about legalizing pot provoked by California's Proposition 19, which qualified for the ballot in March 2010 and was defeated a couple of weeks ago, somehow drove up marijuana use in 2009. Forget about whether that's plausible; it's not even logically possible.

Even if it were true, so what? There is nothing inherently problematic about an increase in marijuana use. From an economic perspective, it indicates greater consumer satisfaction, and Leonhart offered no evidence of externalities big enough to outweigh that benefit. Roggs notes that her claims of disaster from softer drug policies are belied by the experiences of countries that have adopted them.

Declaring himself "a big fan of the DEA," Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) dared Leonhart to take a brave stand by agreeing that repealing drug prohibition, her agency's raison d'etre, would be a big mistake. "Yes, I've said that, senator," she boldly replied. "You're absolutely correct [about] the social costs from drug abuse, especially from marijuana." She also promised that she will "continue to enforce the federal drug laws" in states that allow the medical use of marijuana—despite President Obama's promise to call off the DEA's medical marijuana raids and his attorney general's official policy of restraint in this area—because "I have seen what marijuana use has done to young people."

More on Leonhart here. The DEA's arguments against legalization have not gotten any stronger since I reviewed the agency's debating manual back in 1995.

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102 responses to “DEA Chief Bravely Speaks Out Against Pot Smoking

  1. Speech is bad mmkay…

    1. The first causality of any war is the truth.

      The Drug War? is no different.

      1. Hey, it’s the war on (some) drugs, mmm-kay?

  2. And just imagine if you smoked some pot and then drank 4Loko.

    1. “Just imagine.” Man, you’re a hoot!

      1. I was hoping someone caught that.

    2. You might go 30 miles over the speed limit and hit a kid, rendering him a mentally-challenged paraplegic!

  3. “He had committed? would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper? the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. ”


    1. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved The DEA…

      1. Rats in my room –
        I am bothered by those rats in my room;
        I would rather have some gnats in my room
        Instead of all those awful rats in my room.

        1. snurfleheimer

  4. criticizing [drug] prohibition only encourages drug use

    Criticizing prohibition of criticism only encourages use of criticism.

    “I have seen what marijuana use has done to young people, I have seen the abuse, I have seen what it’s done to families. It’s bad,” Leonhart said.

    Can you be more specific about what you have seen, or might that be construed as “criticizing prohibition”?

    1. When people smoke Marijuana they realize the government lied to them.

      This makes them less compliant citizens. It’s bad.

    2. Going to jail and not being able to get a job are pretty bad consequences of marijuana use. As a DEA agent she’s seen firsthand how those consequences impact young people and their families.

      Therefore, we need to step up enforcement of the drug laws to prevent marijuana use, so no family will have to deal with those consequences.

      1. Too obvious.

      2. Gosh, Hobie, *now* you sound like a right-winger. What have you been drinking?

    3. I agree with her, actually. If you use this drug, you have a high chance of armed psychopaths battering down your door and kidnapping you and/or members of your family at gunpoint, where you will then be thrown in a cage for years and years while being raped and abused by other inmates. If you lift a finger to defend yourself against this mafia you will be murdered. Sounds pretty dangerous to me.

      1. Also, you are putting your pet(s) in mortal danger.

        1. Doesn’t anyone care about the puppies? What about the puppies?

      2. It really is telling when the worst thing that can happen by doing “x” is getting caught.

    4. Drugs are bad, mmkay…

      1. vaporize the best

      2. Bugs are worse. Let’s put these people to work getting the world to be bug free. It’s not much of a change, and 3 letter words are even easier to understand than 4 letter words. Is there anyone in the world that likes bugs? Well except for Gil Grissom, but he’s a nutcake.

        Did you know that this permissive attitude about bugs has even been taken to the extreme of maggots being FDA approved medical devices? Imagine yourself the victim of 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 90% of your body, and the madman doctor coming into your hospital bed and dumping maggots all over you, probably while hysterically laughing like an insane madman. FDA approved. Isn’t that just unbelievable? But go Google it if you think that it’s me that’s the whacko. Check out leeches too, they’re also FDA approved medical devices. That means that there are manufacturers of medical grade maggots and leeches too! FDA approved manufacturers of medical grade blood sucking worms and insects larvae that eat nothing but necrotic flesh. Paid for by medical insurance if you’re lucky enough to have that. Well hell, there goes the quest for a bug free America, they’ve already got a medical exception, paid for by insurance so the rich people never need to be without maggots or leeches if they need them, and we all know that if something is approved as medicine and paid for by insurance, that soon it will be in every home in America. godblessit, now we’re going to have maggots coming out of our ears. E-yuck.

  5. Perhaps we could get her and Sessions on record saying what a mistake the 21st amendment was.

    1. have you noticed that no fascists partake of the blessed and righteous herb?

      1. Only in public. You get a whole different point of view if you’re involved in the retail distribution chain.

      2. Referring to pot as a “blessed and righteous herb” makes me want to punch you right in your dumb shit hippie face.

        I feel this way despite believing all drugs should be freely available and legal.

        1. And hearing about you wanting to punch somebody because you don’t like what they said makes me want to grab my gun and protected my family and I from an obvious sociopath.

  6. Leonhart. Variation of Leonhardt: German and Dutch: from the Germanic personal name Leonhard, composed of the elements leo ‘lion’ + hard, ‘hardy’, ‘brave’, ‘strong’.

  7. Mantra of the DEA

    “Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

    1. DEA Preamble

      The DEA seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power

      1. DEA’s vision of the future: A boot stomping on a druggie’s face… forever.

            1. ugottaproblemwiddat?

  8. She also promised that she will “continue to enforce the federal drug laws” in states that allow the medical use of marijuana?despite President Obama’s promise to call off the DEA’s medical marijuana raids and his attorney general’s official policy of restraint in this area?because “I have seen what marijuana use has done to young people.”

    So during her job interview she said she would ignore her boss and do whatever she wants (if hired)?

    Only in government…..

    1. I have a feeling her boss doesn’t mind being “ignored” in this area. Heck, he even seems to be ignoring himself.

      1. That’s because it played well in focus groups.

    2. What promise to ‘call off’ the medical raids? You misread the Holder memo, he promised to call off the raids if the vendors were in compliance with state law. The only intention was to get people to stop worrying about it because now they know that those arrested were violating state law. How do they know it? Because of the Holder memo of course.

      Go check the stats. There hasn’t been any reduction in medical cannabis vendor arrests under Mr. Obama. There has been a marked decrease in the public chest beating about doing so and in the issuing of press releases compared to the Bushies. That Mr. Obama really understands how to manipulate the English language. A master, no doubt. I’ve got to give him credit where it’s due. He even fooled the potheads for a time, and that’s not an easy feat.

      1. didn’t fool us atall

  9. ‘…I have seen what it does to young people…’

    yeah, they grow up to be engineers, programmers, firemen, businessmen, but certainly not politicians.

    1. Actually that would include our current president and the two before him (by their own admission). None of whom would have any compunction about imprisoning someone for doing what they did.

      1. And they all used cocaine as well.

        1. I only ever used cocaine because they lied to me about cannabis. Sadly, they weren’t lying about cocaine. Back then it was closer to lying about it’s lack of danger. Hey that was actually in 1984 speak of the devil. None since 1989, no thanks whatever to the government. That chit was (is) damaging enough by itself, the government doesn’t need to pile on.

      2. If anyone in the media had any spine at all, they would ask this question:

        “Mr President, you admitted (blah blah blah), do you think your life would have been improved in any way had you gone to prison for what you did?”

        It would probably take a couple of follow-up questions, but you could really make them squirm with that line of reasoning. Bonus points for “when will you be reporting to jail?”.

    2. Except for the last three presidents, of course.

  10. Not wanting kids to take drugs isn’t the goal here. Has anyone noticed the explosion of prescription mental-meds for kids over the last fifteen years? Ritalin is watered-down meth for Christ’s sake.

    “Just say no to drugs…unless WE give them to you, because we didn’t ask if you wanted them and you don’t even have a choice.”

    1. Wow, have you ever noticed that Desoxyn is actually meth, not ‘watered down’? I’m not sure ‘watered down’ is even accurate, but I’m only experienced with Adderall. BTW they do precribe Desoxyn to school children to calm them down and help them pay attention.
      Do you find it interesting that the word methamphetamine doesn’t appear on that page? I know that I do.
      Heck, PCP is legal for docs to prescribe as well. Keep up the good work Ms. Leonhart, you’re doing a heckuva job.

  11. Imagine that. The person whose cushy government job depends on prohibition speaks out in favor of prohibition.

    1. What are the odds?


    2. it’s fun terrorizing potheads, and it sets a tone.

  12. deadlocked jury = mistrial.

    have your thugs suck on that.

    1. mistrial -> retrial

      1. Administrative backlog is the best I can do.

        1. the fear is in the belly of the beast

  13. Her face looks like she’s taken too many “shots on goal.”

    1. she failed her interrogation

  14. “I have seen what marijuana use has done to young people.”

    And I have seen what marijuana does to the twenty-, thirty-, and forty-something people, and thus I support legalization.

    1. Are you saying 40 something isn’t young? Bastard!

      I haven’t smoked pot in years. If it were made legal, I still wouldn’t smoke it. I also recently stopped drinking and stopped smoking cigarrettes 25 years ago. So what? That’s me, and my choices. I am getting really angry about these fucking people.

      1. vaporize

      2. Edibles.

    2. I’ve seen what Prohibition has done to free societies.

      1. Oh c’mon, you have not. You’re not going to fool me.
        Free societies don’t have prohibition laws!

    3. It’s a darn good thing the law stops all those negative consequences of cannabis use by young people. It must work because I’ve never seen it. There’s only those isolated incidents that the professionals that protect our children see because of the law’s protecting the rest of the youth! Why do you people hate children so much that you want them all stoned on a MIND ALTERING DRUG?!?!? Without the law everyone in the world would be stoned out of their gourds. That’s not a pretty thought. I for one am glad that there are people who care about keeping this country sober and sensible instead of STONED and WHACKED OUT OF THEIR MINDS! But then I wasn’t in Alaska when it was legal to destroy the lives of youth with merryjewanna! It’s a darn good thing they changed the law back to illegal. Without the laws we’d be overrun by people urinating in public, like the Dutch! In Alaska the urine freezes and never goes away, and lunatics like Frank Zappa write songs about it because potheads are too stupid to not eat it so they need to be told? Thank god there are sober people like Mr. Zappa who care enough about the youth of Alaska to help. Are there people in this world that are really in favor of stoned children eating frozen urine in Alaska?!?

      Thank god there are still people who believe in truth, justice and the American way!


      I apologize, I’ve just missed the contributions of the Know Nothing prohibitionists like we’d see in other forums. It seems the Know Nothings don’t show up in this forum and their comments really are precious. Their mommas told them they were special every day of the year, no doubt. So I thought I’d act as a surrogate Know Nothing for a moment just to fill the gap.

      Oh, and believe it or not Frank Zappa really was a total anti-drug zealot. He fired Lowell George for writing “Willing” you know, and did indeed write a song called “Don’t Eat that Yellow Snow.” Darn, do you really think anyone could make this up? Google it. Search Youtube. Watch out where the huskies go. Carry on. Believe it or not.

  15. “Declaring himself “a big fan of the DEA,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) dared Leonhart to take a brave stand by agreeing that repealing drug prohibition, her agency’s raison d’etre, would be a big mistake.”

    Boy! Isn’t it great to have those small government, freedom-loving Republicans back in power!

  16. “I have seen what marijuana use has done to young people.”

    Me too! They sit on the sofa eating Doritos and giggling at reruns of The Waltons. The horror! Think of teh chillunz!

    1. They think Waltons are funny? Man, that is some serious shit.

    2. But after they’ve finished their Doritos, they grab the nearest axe and chop zillions of innocent little babies into tiny pieces.

  17. I have seen what marijuana use has done to young people.

    I’d love to see these horrible things that marijuana has done, other than produce the last 3 presidents, that is.

    1. See? You just proved her point.

      1. there is a predisposition to making luff whilst under the influence

        ask yourself did b marley have low sex drive?

        1. No, but he died of brain cancer at 36.

          That cancer started in his toe, and could have been easily cured if Mr. Marley hadn’t been a religious fanatic that was high on pot. They say that pot doesn’t kill people. I think we have proof that is incorrect. No way could we blame it on religious fanaticism. Who cares if 100% of the pot heads who weren’t religious fanatics would have gone to the doctor, gotten cured, and still be alive today?

          Oh I’ll bet you thought I was going to blame the brain cancer on pot because pot makes the brain get high, and brain cancer is in the brain so the two must be connected. But you know I just learned that cancer that metastasizes in other body parts actually consists of cells of the original body part? That means Mr. Marley had toe cells in his brain. Now that’s mind boggling, no doubt.

    2. Bush did coke.

  18. Well, it’s true that the government response to marijuana use has disastrous social consequences. That’s almost the same as the marijuana itself having disastrous consequences, isn’t it?

    1. It’s much worse.

      Number of marijuana related deaths for marijuana smokers since the inception of the War on Drugs = 0

      Number of law enforcement related deaths for marijuana smokers since the inception of the War on Drugs = WAY TOO FUCKING MANY!

      I’m of mind that we’d be a safer society were we to use all of the money that currently goes to the War on Drugs on giving away free marijuana to anyone who wants it.

      1. the rhetoric isn’t supposed to make sense.

        official mumbo jumbo

  19. The epithet “cunt” is reserved for special cases. This is one.

    1. u forgot stretched and smelly

      and a jar of gefilte fish

    2. Don’t you love your cuntry?

  20. It appears the big time dealers get to hold onto the entire Monopoly board and build hotels with this one.

  21. socially disastrous!? How? Answer: Duh. I don’t know.

    The DEA is not your God.
    Michele Leonhart is not your God.

    NO ONE has the AUTHORITY to illegalize a plant!

    Michele Leonhart does not have the power of God to control what species she deems available for human use. This poor pathetic woman is crazy!

    I can’t declare tomato plants illegal!

    Your world is crazy! You have low IQ bigots, with an army of unthinking, moral-less, psychopathic thugs with guns claiming the Power of God over the world! HA HA!

    Grow up! Where is the ADULT world? I want to live there!

    All conservative values will fail over time, forever! The opponents of legal marijuana are extremely stupid and insane and can’t win a debate, they are too cowardly to even face the enemy! The opponents of legal marijuana are weakminded!

    Only cowards are afraid of plants!

    No one has the authority to illegalize a plant.

    Ask them if they are God if they claim God-like power!

    1. Oh c’mon, if castor beans were legal everyone could make ricin. Not only that, castor beans are freaking communist. The plant’s real name is Ricinus communis, look it up. This proves that communists are murdering scum! We are certainly fortunate that the castor bean plant is illegal, how can you disagree with that? Are you in favor of communism and mass murder and mass murder committed by communists? I find that despicable!

      1. What’s wrong with communism? Communism isn’t responsible for mass murder, communism doesn’t have rulers.

        1. or parking meters

  22. It’s time for us all to stop being ignorant hypocrites and start being TRUE conservatives!

    Pragmatic libertarians (minimal-statists) and “true” Conservatives agree that many, if not most, of society’s problems are caused by government usurping choices that could better be made by individuals and that government is just about the worst way of doing almost anything. Where libertarianism normally parts company with “fake” conservatism is over moral issues. But a true conservative would have no problem with agreeing, that what people do with their own bodies, and especially in the privacy of their own home, should be supremely their business, and that anything else would entail ignoring the basic tenet of limited government.

    Fake-Conservatism on the other hand has much in common with socialism; Both Leftists and Fake-Conservatives appear to harbor the belief that nature does not exist and that any human can be anything he wants to be, or can for the “greater good”, be “re-educated” into being. Leftists therefore think little boys can be conditioned into preferring dolls over toy soldiers, and similarly Fake-conservatives believe that adults can be coerced into choosing alcohol over marijuana. A true conservative, just like a pragmatic libertarian, would immediately reject both ideas as nonsense.

    If you support prohibition then you are NOT a conservative.
    Conservative principles, quite clearly, ARE:

    1) Limited, locally controlled government.
    2) Individual liberty coupled with personal responsibility.
    3) Free enterprise.
    4) A strong national defense.
    5) Fiscal responsibility.

    Prohibition is actually an authoritarian War on the Constitution and all civic institutions of our great nation.

    It’s all about the market and cost/benefit analysis. Whether any particular drug is good, bad, or otherwise is irrelevant! As long as there is demand for any mind altering substance, there will be supply; the end! The only affect prohibiting it has is to drive the price up, increase the costs and profits, and where there is illegal profit to be made criminals and terrorists thrive.

    The cost of criminalizing citizens who are using substances no more harmful than similar things that are perfectly legal like alcohol and tobacco, is not only hypocritical and futile, but also simply not worth the incredible damage it does.

    Afghani farmers produce approx. 93% of the world’s opium which is then, mostly, refined into street heroin then smuggled throughout Eastern and Western Europe.

    Both the Taliban and the terrorists of al Qaeda derive their main income from the prohibition-inflated value of this very easily grown crop, which means that Prohibition is the “Goose that laid the golden egg” and the lifeblood of terrorists as well as drug cartels. Only those opposed, or willing to ignore this fact, want things the way they are.

    See: How opium profits the Taliban: http://tinyurl.com/3ytnxun

    Prohibition provides America’s sworn enemies with financial “aid” and tactical “comforts”. The Constitution of the United States of America defines treason as:
    “Article III / Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

    Support for prohibition is therefor an act of treason against the Constitution, and a dire threat to the nation’s civic institutions.

    The Founding Fathers were not social conservatives who believed that citizens should be subordinate to any particular narrow religious moral order. That is what the whole concept of unalienable individual rights means, and sumptuary laws, especially in the form of prohibition, were something they continually warned about.

    It’s time for us all to wise up and help curtail the dangerous expansions of federal police powers, the encroachments on individual liberties, and the increasing government expenditure devoted to enforcing the unworkable and dangerous policy of drug prohibition.

    To support prohibition you have to be either a socialist, ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.

    * The US national debt has increased at an average rate of $3,000,000000 per day since 2006. http://www.usdebtclock.org/
    * The unemployment rate has increased by 7300 per day since 2008.
    * The loss of manufacturing jobs has been 1400 per day since 2006.
    * Without the legalized regulation of opium products Afghanistan will continue to be a bottomless pit in which to throw countless billions of tax dollars and wasted American lives.
    * The hopeless situation in Afghanistan is helping to destabilize it’s neighbor, Pakistan, which is a country with nuclear weapons.
    * The mayhem in Mexico has deteriorated so badly that it’s bordering on farcical.

    There is nothing conservative about prohibition, which enlists the most centralized state power in displacement of domestic and community roles. There is everything authoritarian and subversive about this policy which has incinerated American traditions such as Freedom and Federalism with its puritanical flames. Any person seeking to insure and not further compromise the safety of their family and of their neighbors must not only repudiate prohibition but help spearhead its abolition.

    We will always have adults who are too immature to responsibly deal with tobacco alcohol, heroin amphetamines, cocaine, various prescription drugs and even food. Our answer to them should always be: “Get a Nanny, and stop turning the government into one for the rest of us!”

    1. all u need is luff

      luff izall u need

  23. I’m sad that the Know Nothing prohibitionists continue to lie about Alaska’s supposed ‘legalization’ of cannabis. In this case Senator Sessions rather that Michele the Leonharted. Alaska never legalized cannabis. A regulated retail distribution chain has never been legal since cannabis was originally criminalized in Alaska. Alaska never even decriminalized possession, not even in the privacy of Alsakans homes. The state Supreme Court’s making it impossible to prosecute Alaskans for cannabis consumption or cultivation for personal use while in their homes isn’t decrim, much less legalization. Someone also needs to the Senator Sessions and his fellow clowns that it’s been 7 years since the Alaskan Court of Appeals tossed the 1990 ballot referendum that won by the ‘overwhelming’ majority of 55-45 in a ballot in a non Presidential election in a State that’s by and large ‘conservative’. The vote that these idiots seem to believe proves that ‘legalization’ failed in Alaska.

    Seantor Sessions, you can only fool all of the people with your bald faced lies for finite period of time. I’m hopeful that your time has come and gone. You are a bald faced liar sir, and it is disgusting that you can scam the people into voting for you.

    1. the idea is to drive us all into compliance or die.

      1. Well I’d certainly be willing to help them achieve the latter.

      2. Well I’d certainly be willing to help them achieve the latter.

        1. your enthusiasm is commendable

  24. Gosh malcomb, you’re going to screw up my argument about the 55-60 billion that the taxpayers cough up to pay for the interest on the money the country has borrowed to prosecute the war on some drugs. A trillion with a T in nominal dollars (2.5 trillion with a T in constant 2010 dollars) and $55-60 billion per year in interest ad infinitum sure don’t seem very significant when you mention all the other borrowed money that we may never be able to repay.

    1. rich people borrow to enslave others.

      1. WTF are you talking about? As off the deep end as I am I can’t even get my brain around that piece of lunacy.

        1. ya think the imf has your back covered?

  25. govt is evolutionary.

    good govt is visionary.

  26. Everyone needs to support legalizing medical marijuana because its the right thing to do! Do a google search for marijuana helps ms and thats just one search, there are many! please support medical marijuana… http://www.gromasters.com

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