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Top DEA agent won’t admit to Congress that heroin is more harmful than marijuana

  1. Rob Cypher
    During a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart repeatedly refused to admit that anything was more addictive or harmful than marijuana.

    Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado pressed Leonhart on whether illegal drugs like methamphetamine and crack, as well as legal prescription drugs, caused greater harm to public health compared to marijuana. But within a three minute time-span, Leonhart dodged his questions eleven times.

    “Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?” Polis, who has called for an end to marijuana prohibition, asked.

    “I believe all illegal drugs are bad,” Leonhart responded.

    “Is methamphetamine worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?” Polis continued. “Is heroin worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?”

    “Again, all drugs,” Leonhart began to say, only to be cut off by Polis.

    “Yes, no, or I don’t know?” Polis said. “If you don’t know this, you can look this up. As the chief administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency, I’m asking a very straightforward question.”

    Leonhart said that heroin was highly addictive, but accused Polis of asking a “subjective” question. After being pressed further, she conceded that heroin was more addictive than marijuana, but added “some people become addicted marijuana and some people become addicted to methamphetamine.”

    Leonhart was nominated to be the Deputy Administrator of the DEA by then-President Bush in 2003 and confirmed by the Senate in 2004. She became the acting Administrator of the DEA after the former Administrator, Karen P. Tandy, resigned in 2007. Obama officially nominated Leonhart to the position in 2010.



  1. chaos69
    Its kind of scary that these bastards believe their own propaganda.
  2. ianzombie
    This guy should be fired and replaced with someone who takes their job seriously.
  3. Mind_Expansion
    I like the 'all illegal drugs are bad' part.

    I wonder what her response would have been to a question comparing alcohol and marijuana? Probably something like 'alcohol is legal, so marijuana is clearly more damaging to ones health!'.
  4. mersann
    It doesn't seem to me as though this was the case. Because if it was the case, she would claim that the drugs are equally dangerous. Instead, she avoids replying to the question appropriately. They know the facts. They have to. But people who favour law-and-order policies (which I think top people in the DEA probably often are) would not be able to admit that Cannabis is much less dangerous than Heroin per se, especially with all the current Marijuana decriminalisation efforts in the US, because that would warrant a different reaction when compared to the action taken with regard to Heroin.
  5. OscarTheGrouch
    The really scary thing is that the leaders of our government are using tactics to avoid being honest.
  6. hookedonhelping
    This guy?


    Michele Marie Leonhart is an American career law enforcement officer and the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
    Leonhart has consistently turned down research into the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of marijuana, and has a track record of undermining state law with regard to legal medical marijuana.

  7. Rob Cypher
    Ah, that explains why nothing changed regarding medical marijuana "crackdowns" by the DEA. This woman has been in charge the whole time since Bush II.
  8. al-k-mist
    Francis Young > Quotes > Quotable Quote

    “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.

    [DEA Administrative Law Judge - 1988]”
    ― Francis Young

    Thats how long they have known, and they rejected his advice. Fucking clowns
  9. Ellisdeee
    Or an entire arsenal of every single hospital in the United States? All those hospitals that use 'illegal drugs' on patients. No brainer, I can't believe that sort of person is in charge. Either they are ridiculously stupid or are playing ridiculously stupid.
  10. Baba Blacksheep
    In order to exist, expand and continue they must refute all truth, scientific and moral evidence.
  11. talltom
    This was written back in 2004 when Bush named her Deputy DEA Director, but even then she had a reputation for being hard-nosed and not above lying to get a prosecution. Despite that history, Obama named her Director in 2011.

    Michele Leonhart Confirmed as Deputy DEA Director

    There’s a lot about her, but here’s the kicker. When talking about Andrew Chambers, a snitch she used who put a lot of people behind bars but was discovered to be lying on a regular basis, she said:
    “The only criticism (of Chambers) I’ve ever heard is what defense attorneys will characterize as perjury or a lie on the stand.”

    She continued by saying that once prosecutors check him out, they’ll agree with his admirers in DEA that he’s “an outstanding testifier.”
    Yep, according to her, lying isn’t such a bad thing as long as you get the conviction.

    Well, her views on the truth will fit in just fine with the drug warriors. After all, didn’t the GAO already state that drug warriors practically had to lie in order to do their job?
    My prediction on Leonhart’s confirmation was:
    The Senate Judiciary Committee must, at the very least, investigate Leonhart’s connection to Andrew Chambers. The fact that she apparently has no objection to the use of perjury in attaining a conviction should be an automatic disqualifier. Based on past experience, however, it is likely that Leonhart will be confirmed without discussion or recorded vote.
    Well, I called that right. The Judiciary Committee passed her on without comment on March 4, 2004 and the Senate confirmed on voice vote with a whole list of other nominees.

    Pete Guither
    Drug War Rant
    March 23, 2004
  12. esoteric_explorer
    Isn't it ironic how the Drug Enforcement Agency knows nothing about drugs?
  13. talltom
    Why the DEA Chief's Embarassing Refusal to Admit Heroin is More Harmful Than Pot Went Viral

    Last week, DEA chief Michele Leonhart got quite a bit of attention with congressional testimony that left a lot of people shaking their heads in frustration. Here's what everyone is talking about:

    "Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?" Polis asked Leonhart.

    "I believe all illegal drugs are bad," Leonhart answered.

    Polis continued, asking whether methamphetamines and heroin were worse for a person's health than marijuana.

    "Again, all drugs, they're illegal drugs," Leonhart started, before being cut off by Polis.

    "Yes, no, or I don't know?" Polis said. "If you don't know, you can look this up. You should know this as the chief administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency. I'm asking a very straightforward question: Is heroin worse for someone's health than marijuana?"

    Leonhart ducked again, repeating, "All illegal drugs are bad."

    The whole thing ought to speak for itself, but it's worth repeating that the person who is literally in charge of stopping everyone from taking drugs is somehow incapable of explaining to us the difference between the various drugs we shouldn't be taking. It's her job to know a lot about this, and her complete lack of insight is less than impressive.

    What makes this moment so significant is that people really reacted to it, and the video has now been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube. I doubt it's news to anybody that drug warriors have a tendency towards being obtuse when asked simple questions, but Leonhart's feigned ignorance is so vividly depicted in this exchange that she managed to captivate everyone in the worst possible way.

    Who, if not this woman, should be able to speak intelligently about the dangers of drugs? By attempting to downplay marijuana's reputation for relative safety, she ends up coming across as oblivious or indifferent to the basic facts about drugs that everyone learns in school. The idea that there's a hierarchy of drug dangers is so widely understood that there's really no sense in even challenging it.

    That's why the question wasn't even that big of a trap. There is simply no reason at all that the DEA administrator can't just tell everyone outright that, no, marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin. That's just a fact. It's the only answer she can give that won't make her look foolish, and not looking like a fool in front of Congress and the American people ought to be more important than maintaining such an absurd stance as this.

    The irony of it all is that Leonhart's silly statement comes at a time when more people are paying attention to the issue than ever before. When the public is exhibiting increased skepticism about our drug policy priorities, the need for candid and intelligent commentary from public officials is that much greater. If more people are asking questions about the issue, then our policy-makers should be giving longer answers, not shorter ones.

    The power to enforce these laws should never be separated from the obligation to articulate whatever wisdom and necessity underscores them. When political posturing compromises a spokesperson's ability to speak intelligently about their own area of expertise, it's a sign that something is wrong. In this case, that something is our nation's ongoing war on marijuana, a fiasco so embarrassing and inexplicable that insisting the stuff is as bad as heroin remains a top argument in its defense.

    Scott Morgan,
    Huffington Post
    June 25, 2012

  14. Alfa
    The issue that seems to be forgotten in this, is the profitability of the drug prohibition and the drug prohibition industry, which includes the DEA, prisons, drug testing companies. The DEA seem to be protecting their own interests. They need tougher drug laws and tougher drug law enforcement.

    Another area of interest is that over time, many US government officials have been caught in international drug trade operations. The incidents are of such frequency and proportion that its not logical to conclude that these are isolated incidents. Make of that what you will.
  15. TheBigBadWolf
    Ms Leonhart was in no way incompetent or not able to explain a difference,
    her answer was nothing but crude cynism.

    All illegal drugs are equally dangerous for the user-

    when they get caught.

    Ms Leonharts statement doesn't talk about toxicity or socio-economical facts, she outright says:
    " Don't matter which illicit drugs you use, we're gonna bash the shit out of you dirty druggies."
    She simply is an icecold bureaucrat giving answers on questions of which the interviewer didn't even dream before.
    All illicit drugs are frighteningly dangerous,- when it comes to dealing with this woman's power.


    PS: This doesn't mean any Alfa's above thoughts were incorrect, it's just another way to show us how we will be governed concerning the war on drugs.
  16. Munkye
    Why do you Americans let people like this run your country?
  17. ianzombie
    Im not American, but i see a lot of similarity's between this case and the British Governments refusal to accept scientific evidence supplied by their drug advisor's last year. The problem is not one Americas have to deal with alone, this sort of nonsense happens all over the world.

    Perhaps you have advice on how you have personally deal with this problem and how you intend to stop people like your current government running the country?
  18. aquatic
    Why do you Americans let people like this run your country?

    We have no control over who runs our country... voting just gives the appearance that we have a choice. We get the same piece of shit people in the gov't no matter what.
  19. Aberdonian
    cool im gonna ask just for a small dose till college starts see how i get on, bein sent to a psychiatrist first, what will they go all iq test i have done onlineetc be ANy use all are in 140s to150 with the time factor bein exciting\z

  20. Munkye
    Inform people of the truth, don't ram it down their necks but if they bring up the topic of drugs and they appear to be misinformed, inform them. Hopefully after a while they'll catch on to the possibility that not everything they learn to be 'true' actually is, and may be more careful about what they spread to other people. Eventually everyone will see through the nonsense that politicians spread in order to gain power and as a whole, something will be done.

    Either that, or become a politician myself, but I'm not a power hungry spineless idiot.
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