Drug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart has blasted President Barack Obama's recent remarks suggesting that marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol.
Leonhart said at a two-day meeting of the nation's sheriffs in Washington last week that she was unhappy about the administration's openness towards state legalization,
reports the Boston Herald.
"She’s frustrated for the same reasons we are. She said she felt the administration didn’t understand the science enough to make those statements" Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who attended the conference, told the newspaper.
Sheriff Donny Youngblood of Kern County, Calif., said Leonhart called out Obama for what he described as "irresponsible'" comments.
"This is a woman who has spent 33 years of her life fighting drug abuse in the DEA, her entire life. To have the president of the United States publicly say marijuana was a bad habit like alcohol
was appalling to everyone in that room," Youngblood, president of the Major Counties Sheriffs' Association, told the Herald.
"I think the way that she felt was that it was a betrayal of what she does for the American people in enforcing our drug laws . . . She got a standing ovation," he added.
Leonhart was apparently upset by the administration's actions as well as its words. "She was particularly frustrated with the fact that, according to her, the White House participated in a softball game with a pro-legalization group," Hodgson told the Herald.
"But she said her lowest point in 33 years in the DEA was when she learned they'd flown a hemp flag over the Capitol on July 4," he said.
The White House has not responded to Leonhart's diatribe, but Tom Angell, founder of the Marijuana Majority reform group, told the Huffington Post he doesn’t expect her to be fired
for her "insubordinate speech."
"But in light of the president's newfound boldness in speaking out about the unfairness of marijuana prohibition enforcement, he should take the opportunity to significantly reform federal marijuana policy and rearrange the agencies that have mismanaged it for so long," he said.
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