Michele Leonhart has been the chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) since 2007. The cannabis industry has not witnessed any positive developments under her watch. Leonhart’s reign, however, is over.
According to reports, Leonhart will resign following an alleged sex scandal involving DEA agents under her watch. Marijuana advocates hope that her departure will pave the way for more relaxed drug policies under the Obama administration.
The end of the Reefer Madness era
Many pro-marijuana lobbyists are pressuring the administration to replace Leonhart with someone whose vision and beliefs are more in line with the American people. Activists want a more marijuana-friendly chief heading up the DEA.
“Hopefully, her resignation will mark the end of the ‘Reefer Madness’ era at the DEA,” said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project.
Riffle added,” the DEA’s drug policies under Leonhart recklessly undermined Obama’s views on marijuana with a mindset straight out of the 1930s.”
Enforcing a policy not in line with the Obama administration
Marijuana activists could not be any happier about this announcement. Activists have been criticizing Leonhart for years because she was enforcing a drug policy that was not in line with the Obama administration.
President Obama has stated that he could be open to more relaxed marijuana laws. He even said that marijuana is not more harmful than alcohol.
Even though the president has made statements about marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance which puts it in the same category as Heroin, LSD and ecstasy. This classification prevents researchers from studying cannabis and learning about its medical benefits.
Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen (Tennessee) said, “She was insubordinate to the president when she criticized his acknowledgement of the fact that marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol.”
Capitalize on this opportunity
Marijuana advocates hope that President Obama will capitalize on this opportunity and appoint someone who is more favorable or at least open to marijuana reform.
“It’s an opportunity for President Obama to nominate someone who recognizes that the drug war is coming to an end, that what we’ve been doing for decades is not working,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority.
This is your time to make a profound difference President Obama. Appoint someone who is open to marijuana reform and get the conversation going.