Now Hiring: Head of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency
Today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that come May, the position of Head of the DEA would be available for a new leader. This of course creates an interesting twist in the push for federal marijuana policy reform, as liberals hope to have someone put in position who will lean toward legalization while conservatives oppose someone with such views.
Michele Leonhart, current administrator and Head of the DEA since 2007, has decided to resign from her position after being publicly criticized for her role in reprimanding and demoting, or lack there of, several agents who admitted to having “sex parties” with Colombian prostitutes funded by drug cartels last year.
This week, Leonhart has found herself of the receiving end of much ridicule, leading many to speculate this as the driving force behind her resignation. No stranger to ridicule, Leonhart is herself usually on the serving end. Her hallmark stances include refusing to answer questions about her feelings on the dangers of marijuana being equal to that of methamphetamine and heroin stating, “All illegal drugs are bad.”
President Obama and Leonhart have butted head many times over the debate of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in states such as Colorado and Washington. Last year, she criticized President Obama for saying in an interview that marijuana was no more dangerous than alcohol. She stood by her statements and opposed Obama’s support of marijuana reform because it called into question the mission of the DEA entirely.
Despite, hypocritical statements, judgments and political position, Michele Leonhart’s career with the DEA has spanned over 35 years and she will be remembered according to Attorney General Holden “as the first woman ever to reach the rank of Special Agent in Charge; she was a trailblazer for equality and an inspiration to countless others.”
Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, anticipating the future of the DEA said, “I encourage the president to use this opportunity to fill this important role with someone who understands the outdated federal approach to marijuana isn’t working.” It is estimated by the Pew Research Center that in 2015, 53% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana.