The former director of the DEA, Michele Leonhart, had a well-earned reputation for being a hard ass on cannabis and roundly ignoring directives from the Attorney General and President Obama that would have forced her to lay off weed in states that have legalized it. So much so, that Attorney General Eric Holder had to publicly reprimand her for subverting the President’s orders to lay off on marijuana.
Well, now that Leonhart has resigned amid a scandal that asserted that she turned a blind eye to egregious corruption and DEA agent sex parties, weed enthusiasts and medical marijuana patients have cause for some muted whimsy. The new head of the DEA, Chuck Rosenberg, has a sterling career in law enforcement. The excitement has little to do with Rosenberg himself. Rather we should feel good simply because it is very improbable that anyone at all could be as ridiculously draconian as Leonhart.
Tennessee Representative and medical marijuana advocate, Steve Cohen, commented, “She was an insubordinate to the president when she criticized his acknowledgement of the fact that marijuana is ‘no more harmful than alcohol.'”
Steph Sherer, director of Americans for Safe Access, also criticized Leonhart, “She has been really at the core of so much destruction…she led the war on patients under Bush…and was a key obstructionist for the rescheduling of cannabis.”
Also, this will mark the first newly appointed DEA director in the era of legal weed. Leonhart held the post for 8 years, dating back to George W. Bush. Cannabis went legal in select states in 2012. As such, Leonhart is, quite literally, the last vestige of the Harry Anslinger style of prohibitive cannabis enforcement.
For his part, Rosenberg is rumored to want to shift the focus of the DEA away from cannabis and onto harder drugs, and is even open to considering a rescheduling of cannabis all together. Finally, some common sense may have inched its way into the DEA.