Marijuana Advocates Want Michele Leonhart Out At DEA Following California Pot Shop Raids

Leonhart with Attorney General Eric Holder.
Leonhart with Attorney General Eric Holder.

Despite an Obama administration directive meant to put a halt to federal raids of pot shops in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, recent dispensary busts, including one in Southern California, have prompted a group of cannabis advocates to call on Obama to withdraw Michele Leonhart as his nominee to be the DEA's top cop.

The former special agent in charge of the DEA's Los Angeles office is accused of being enthusiastic about enforcement against pot shops as early as 1998. But it was the DEA's recent actions, with Leonhart as acting administrator, that has pot promoters burning.

According to, the Drug Policy Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the Marijuana Policy Project, NORML, California NORML, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy have called on the Obama administration to backpedal on Leonhart's nomination.

Recent DEA raids have happened in San Diego, Mendocino County, Colorado and Michigan.

On July 7 feds raided the Covelo, Calif. home of Joy Greenfield. She "even had county-issued 'zip-ties' on her plants designating their legality under state and local law," according to a statement from Americans for Safe Access.

Two days later the DEA hit a few dispensaries in the San Diego area: Twelve people were arrested, and money, cultivation equipment, and financial and patient records were seized.

"Patients are fed up with platitudes and half promises from the Obama Administration," said Eugene Davidovich of the San Diego chapter of Americans for Safe Access.

The raids inspired "coordinated and lively protests" against the DEA earlier in the week, according to Americans for Safe Access.

The call on the Obama administration to drop Leonhart includes an online petition that readers can fill out and send to Washington.

The petition reads, in part:

I am disappointed that you have nominated Michele Leonhart to become the DEA's permanent administrator. As acting administrator, she has shown again and again that political posturing is her number one priority and has even acted in defiance of your administration's policy on medical marijuana.

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