Congressional actions

bullet image Senate Judiciary Committee to Confirm DEA Head Nominee Tomorrow

Barring unforeseen massive scandal in the next 24 hours, Michele Leonhart’s nomination to be Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) administrator will be confirmed Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The nomination is opposed by the drug reform, medical marijuana, and hemp movements, but insiders say it is all but a done deal.

bullet image Obama’s pick to head DEA needs to answer some tough questions by Paul Armentano

In short, Ms. Leonhart’s actions and ambitions are incompatible with state law, public opinion, and with the policies of this administration. At a minimum, Senators should ask Ms. Leonhart specific questions regarding her past record and her intentions moving forward.

bullet image Drug Policy Alliance:

Today’s the day.

This is our best chance to get Congress and President Obama to establish an important commission that could provide recommendations on how to reform our marijuana laws, as well as other criminal justice issues.

The Senate is considering a bill that would establish a national commission to make recommendations on improving the criminal justice system — but Congress is dragging its feet. They need to hear from reformers around the country in support of this bill. Send a message to Senate leadership now!

Take Action

bullet image Via Stop the Drug War

In 2009, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and 15 Republican and Democratic cosponsors introduced the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, legislation that would create a bipartisan Commission to review and identify effective criminal justice policies and make recommendations for reform. The House of Representatives and the Senate Judiciary Committee have passed the bill, which now has 39 Senate cosponsors, but the bill still awaits final passage during these last few weeks of the Congressional session. If NCJC doesn’t pass this year, it will all have to be done over again in 2011.

Today is the National Call-In Day for Passage of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act. Please call the following Senators to ask them to prioritize and support Senate passage of the NCJC Act, H.R. 5143 and S. 714, this year:

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), 202-224-5556
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 202-224-3135
  • the two US Senators from your state — call (202) 224-3121 or click here to look them up.

The following is a message for your call to the Senators’ offices:

I am calling to ask the Senator to prioritize and support immediate Senate passage of the House-passed National Criminal Justice Commission Act, H.R. 5143/S. 714, because:

  • Having a transparent and bipartisan Commission review and identify effective criminal justice policies would increase public safety.
  • The increase in incarceration over the past twenty years has stretched the system beyond its limits. These high costs to taxpayers are unsustainable, especially during these tough economic times.
  • The proposed commission would conduct a comprehensive national review — not audits of individual state systems — and would issue recommendations — not mandates — for consideration.

This is an open thread.

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17 Responses to Congressional actions

  1. Ben Mann says:

    Jim Webb’s bill is the important one. A bi-partisan commission is the only thing that could give national politicians the needed political cover to support legalization.

  2. darkcycle says:

    I got some letter writing and phone calling to do. I’ll get back at ya later.

  3. denmark says:

    If you want to watch the video on Wednesday, Nov. 17, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Acting Drug Enforcement Administrator Michelle Leonhart. A live webcast is available for the committee meeting at:

    Everything surrounding Prohibition is quite ridiculous and it grows in absurity. The powers that be know exactly what we want and yet they continue to ignore us.

    When you leave your mortal coil Leonhart you WILL regret your actions during this life time.

  4. claygooding says:

    Done deal,but remember one thing,every study requested by congress has “recommended” decriminalization/legalization
    since the prohibition if marijuana began. And the lobbyists just buy the votes or the in-action required to ignore it.
    The only way we will ever see reform is by ballot,in every state capable of putting an initiative on their ballot.

  5. Pingback: Congressional actions - Forums

  6. failed system blues says:

    Does she know the difference between a tomato (tomatoe?) plant and marijuana? Can she tell the difference between oregano and super skunk? Shh…don’t tell congress that Shrub the Lesser obsoleted them with the unitary executive principle (führerprinzip) but their bribe checks will keep coming so as not to get them worried about losing their place at the taxpayer money feeding trough.

  7. Stop Leonhart says:

    Take action against Leonhart’s confirmation here!

  8. Servetus says:

    Leonhart was appointed to head the DEA because no one else was crazy enough to want the job.

  9. Tim says:

    The current Time Magazine has a piece written by The Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson. Brings up the ‘young men with no visible ailment’ meme that they tried in California.

    Hey MPP: You guys want an idea for a good project to fund? Push back against this with ads.

  10. Tim says:

    Oops, forgot to include a scan of the full article here. This one might be important, and it would be good to get the jump on this before it hits their website.

  11. epic fail says:

    40 Yr, Trillion Dollar
    ‘War On Drugs’ Worst Failure Yet
    By Jim Kirwan

    After 40 years, the United States war on drugs has cost $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence even more brutal and widespread. Even U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske concedes the strategy hasn’t worked. In the grand scheme, it has not been successful, Kerlikowske told The Associated Press. Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified.

    Embattled President Richard M. Nixon seized on a new war he thought he could win. This nation faces a major crisis in terms of the increasing use of drugs, particularly among our young people,Nixon said as he signed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. The following year, he said: Public enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive. His first drug-fighting budget was $100 million. Now it’s $15.1 billion, 31 times Nixon’s amount even when adjusted for inflation.

    From the beginning, lawmakers debated fiercely whether law enforcement no matter how well funded and well trained could ever defeat the drug problem. Then-Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, who had his doubts, has since watched his worst fears come to pass. Look what happened. It’s an ongoing tragedy that has cost us a trillion dollars. It has loaded our jails and it has destabilized countries like Mexico and Colombia, he said.

    The Office of National Drug Control Policy says about 330 tons of cocaine, 20 tons of heroin and 110 tons of methamphetamine are sold in the United States every year, almost all of it brought in across the borders. Even more marijuana is sold, but it’s hard to know how much of that is grown domestically, including vast fields run by Mexican drug cartels in U.S. national parks. The dealers who are caught have overwhelmed justice systems in the United States and elsewhere. U.S. prosecutors declined to file charges in 7,482 drug cases last year, most because they simply didn’t have the time and the arrestees decline to “cop a plea,” wherein they plead guilty in return for a more “lenient” sentence.

    Less money spent on treatment, prevention – Mexican President Felipe Calderon says if America wants to fix the drug problem, it needs to do something about Americans’ unquenching thirst for illegal drugs. Kerlikowske agrees, and Obama has committed to doing just that. And yet both countries continue to spend the bulk of their drug budgets on law enforcement rather than treatment and prevention. President Obama’s newly released drug war budget is essentially the same as Bush’s, with roughly twice as much money going to the criminal justice system as to treatment and prevention,said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance.

    Nixon said in a special 1971 message to Congress. It comes quietly into homes and destroys children, it moves into neighborhoods and breaks the fiber of community which makes neighbors. We must try to better understand the confusion and disillusion and despair that bring people, particularly young people, to the use of narcotics and dangerous drugs. Just a few years later, a young Barack Obama was one of those young users, a teenager smoking pot and trying a little blow when you could afford it, as he wrote in Dreams From My Father. When asked during his campaign if he had inhaled the pot, he replied: That was the point. Why continue a an extraordinarily expensive policy which has proven NOT to work?

  12. Duncan20903 says:

    Can’t we photoshop Ms Leonhart into some kind of sick pornography, maybe some real gross CBT? People certainly would find it consistent with her character.

    I can’t sleep, the clowns will eat me!

  13. Bluto Blutarski says:

    Read an article at news aggregator page that says she continues to raid medicinal marijuana dispensaries in states that have passed laws making it legal. Too bad the states have no testicular fortitude to assert their rights. If one did others would follow suit.

  14. DdC says:

    Snuffing Out Medical Marijuana
    Gov. Chris Christie is engaging in an ugly game of politics when it comes to implementing the medical marijuana law. The draft regulations from the Department of Health and Senior Services show science that was selected with a political bias and a strong influence from special interest groups. Qualifying New Jersey residents will remain in the crossfire between Christie and a law he openly opposes unless the Legislature acts decisively. New Jersey passed the most limited compassionate use law in the country. Polling shows 82 percent of residents support it. Now, the Christie administration is proposing a sterilized cannabis program with regulations tailored for big business. Enacting the draft regulations from DHSS would effectively crush the holistic model of cannabis therapy here, except underground.

    Sterilized cannabis?
    Are these weirdo’s trying to punish the citizens with Sinsemilla?

    I’ve heard of the idiots demanding steralized Hemp Seed be sold to the US pet shops and in hemp seed and oil products. Why would they want seeds in their RxGanja anyway?

    The seed we use is grown from non-drug industrial hemp plants, and steam sterilized, in Canada.
    Boulder Hemp Company, July 1999

  15. DdC says:

    Senate Throws Softball Questions By Phillip S. Smith
    CN Source: AlterNet Washington, D.C. November 19, 2010
    Michele Leonhart’s nomination to be Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) administrator appeared to be on track for an easy confirmation after a Wednesday hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The nomination is opposed by the drug reform, medical marijuana, and hemp movements, but insiders say it is all but a done deal. While reformers had hoped one or more senators would ask Leonhart “tough questions” about her tenure as acting DEA administrator, that didn’t happen.

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again
    and expecting different results.” ~ Albert Einstein

  16. DdC says:

    Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to the nomination of Michele M. Leonhart to be Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). I welcome this opportunity to respond.

    In 2004, Ms. Leonhart was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to serve as DEA Deputy Administrator. She was the DEA’s first female Special Agent in Charge (SAC) and later became the SAC for the Los Angeles Field Division, which is its third largest Field Division. She has been the Acting Administrator since 2007.

    I understand you have concerns about medical marijuana and Ms. Leonhart’s record on enforcing drug laws. As you may be aware, last fall, the Justice Department issued new guidelines clarifying its position on medical marijuana and how federal prosecutors should handle cases where state and federal laws conflict. This directive sets parameters for use of federal resources for prosecutors in marijuana cases stating that “…priorities should not focus federal resources in your states on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”

    Ms. Leonhart’s nomination is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I am a member. At this time, however, her nomination has not been taken up for consideration. As a member of this Committee, I take my role in reviewing nominees very seriously, and I appreciate hearing your opposition to Ms. Leonhart. Please know I will keep your concerns in mind should her nomination come before the Committee or the full Senate.

    Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope you will continue to keep informed on matters of interest to you. Best regards.

    Also, may I take this opportunity to wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. Best regards

    Sincerely yours,

    Dianne Feinstein
    United States Senator

    Michele Leonhart.jpg

    DEA’s Michele Leonhart Goes Rogue
    In February of 2009 Eric Holder vowed to end DEA raids on Medical Marijuana. In his statement he said, “the Justice Department will no longer raid medical marijuana clubs that are established legally under state law.” But left in place from the dubya era is Michele Leonhart. Ms. Leonhart is defying the administrations ban on raids against legal growers. These are people who have applied for a license and are sanctioned by local or State governments which allow them to grow and sell medical marijuana.

    Holder Vows To End Raids On Medical Marijuana Clubs
    Updated: 03-29-09

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