Pot Advocates to Obama: Fire DEA Chief

By Shawn Dwyer 01/27/14

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart is under fire for harsh remarks directed toward President Obama behind closed doors.

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A leading marijuana advocacy group has called upon President Barack Obama to fire the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Michele Leonhart, in light of her harsh criticism of the president following his recent remarks that weed was no more harmful than alcohol.

Last week, Leonhart reportedly told a group of sheriffs in a closed-door meeting in Washington, D.C. that she was frustrated by the administration’s hands-off approach to drug enforcement of marijuana in the wake of Colorado and Washington legalizing it for recreational use. According to one attendee at the gathering, Leonhart said that the president’s comments were a “big slap in the face” to officers who are killed while trying to enforce drug laws. Initially reported in the Boston Herald, Leonhart’s comments have prompted pot reform groups like the Marijuana Policy Project to fire back. "Whether Ms. Leonhart is ignorant of the facts or intentionally disregarding them, she is clearly unfit for her current position," said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the MPP.

“The DEA administrator’s continued refusal to recognize marijuana’s relative safety compared to alcohol and other drugs flies in the face of the president’s commitment to prioritizing science over ideology and politics," Riffle’s statement continued. "She is neglecting the basic obligations of her job and fundamentally undermining her employer’s mission. This would be grounds for termination in the private sector, and the consequences for Ms. Leonhart should be no different.”

A DEA spokesperson has said that Leonhart’s comments were directed toward marijuana legalization and not the president himself. So far the Obama Administration has declined to comment.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.