DEA Chief’s Bizarre Defense of Marijuana Prohibition
Friday, June 29, 2012
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) top official has come under considerable scrutiny for recent remarks defending the illegality of marijuana.
During her testimony before Congress, DEA Director Michele Leonhart argued that keeping marijuana illegal was a good idea—just like the prohibition on alcohol in the early 20th century.
The comparison surprised many observers, given the consensus among historians that Prohibition was a failure, resulting in the rise of organized crime while doing little to stop Americans from drinking.
Leonhart’s remarks were echoed in a DEA report that stated “most historians agree that national prohibition succeeded both in lowering consumption and in retaining political support until the great depression radically changed voters’ priorities. Repeal resulted more from this contextual shift than from characteristics of prohibition itself.”
The report also downplayed the growth in crime syndicates during Prohibition, noting that mobs existed before and after the 18th Amendment.
Leonhart continued her bizarre remarks when addressing the issue of medical marijuana. When asked about the efficacy of medicinal marijuana, Leonhart said the issue is something “between [a patient] and his doctor.”
The answer prompted cries of hypocrisy from critics of the DEA’s drug policy, which has steadfastly called marijuana a danger to society.
Under repeated questioning from Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee), Leonhart refused to admit that marijuana is less of a health- and crime-related problem that heroin, cocaine, crack and methamphetamine.
To Learn More:
Alcohol Prohibition “Worked,” According to DEA Report, Released with Police Union Lobby (by Lee Fang, Republic Report)
Hypocrite: DEA Chief Administrator Slips Up, Says Medical Pot Should be Between Doctor and Patient (by Derek Rosenfeld, AlterNet)
Speaking Out against Drug Legalization (Drug Enforcement Administration) (pdf)
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