I’m sure many of you have noticed that – despite Attorney General Eric Holder’s “orders” to the contrary, medical marijuana raids continue by the DEA. I put the word orders in quotations because I don’t really think the DEA answers to anyone, not Eric Holder, and not President Obama. An article posted on Reason.com today delves into exactly what’s going on at The Justice Department.
Yesterday half a dozen drug policy reform groups asked President Obama to withdraw his nomination of Michele Leonhart to head the DEA, citing her continued enthusiasm for raids on medical marijuana suppliers as the agency’s acting administrator. “Under Leonhart’s leadership,” says the joint statement by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, California NORML, the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy, “the DEA has staged medical marijuana raids in apparent disregard of Attorney General Eric Holder’s directive to respect state medical marijuana laws.”
According to the DEA, the people they raid are not in full and complete compliance with state law, so they have a free hand. Since many state laws leave ambiguity when it comes to medical marijuana, the DEA pounces on any excuse to conduct a raid and justify their bloated and wasteful budget. And since their is no leadership from above, the raids continue.
And you can’t blame Leonhart for that (the wiggle room in the laws). It was Holder who formulated the new policy, and it was President Obama who let him do it, despite his repeated campaign promises to leave medical marijuana patients and their suppliers alone. The definitive test of whether anything has changed will be in jurisdictions such as Maine, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia, which have laws that explicitly authorize and regulate the production and distribution of medical marijuana.
So what is to be done? Sadly, without clear guidelines at the Department of Justice reigning in the DEA, not much. Obama and Holder seem to have forgotten about the issue, leaving the thugs at the DEA to carry out their budget-bloating raids.
We must continually remind our “leaders” that speaking a few words during the campaign doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow through on your promises. Real leadership is about telling people what will happen, and then making it happen. This is a concept our currents “leaders” fail to grasp.