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CN ON: 420 Protest Turns Into Event

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
The Peterborough Examiner, 21 Apr 2015 - Information booths set up in Victoria Park to promote legalization of marijuana, medical marijuana awareness Peterborough's annual 420 Cannabis Awareness Event has come quite a ways since it started six years ago.
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CN BC: 420 Event High On Fed Liberal Vote

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 21 Apr 2015 - Justin Trudeau's face featured prominently at Vancouver event Thousands of activists and enthusiasts gathered in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery for the annual 420 rally to protest prohibition against pot and celebrate their love for marijuana.
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CN ON: Marijuana-Smoking Marchers Rally At City Hall

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
Hamilton Spectator, 21 Apr 2015 - It's 420 =C2=85 time to smoke and protest country's pot laws Clouds covered both sky and ground at City Hall as hundreds turned out for Hamilton's 420 pot rally. A cold and wet Monday didn't stop supporters of legalization from voicing their displeasure with federal marijuana legislation.
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CN NS: Halifax Pot Lovers Celebrate 4/20 With Prohibition Party

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
Metro, 21 Apr 2015 - Club hopes pro-cannabis event will help legalization At High Life Social Club in Halifax, they "celebrate cannabis every day," said owner Chris Henderson. Pot enthusiasts helped take that celebration one step higher Monday at the club's inaugural prohibition party.
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Chronicle AM: Obama on MedMJ; Chicago, NYC Drug Policy Reform Moves, CA Legalization Funds Begin to Flow, More (4/20/15)

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 22:33

The president suggests he could get behind congressional medical marijuana efforts, a second California legalization initiative has been filed, Weedmaps puts up $2 million for legalization, two of the nation's largest cities are moving toward drug reform, and more. 

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Alaska Marijuana Control Board Bill Passes. The state Senate last Saturday approved House Bill 123, which would create a Marijuana Control Board. It had already passed the House, but now needs to go back for a concurrence vote after the Senate made changes in the bill. But House Bill 75, which would allow for municipal regulation got stalled on a tie vote. Senate Majority Leader John Coghill (R-North Pole) has asked that the bill be held for reconsideration, and the Senate will again take it up before the session ends.

Weedmaps Kicks In $2 Million for California Legalization Efforts. The marijuana store locator app company has donated $1 million to Californians for Sensible Reform, a campaign committee that says it will back the strongest legalization initiative next year. And it's matched that with another $1 million to Californians for Sensible Reform PAC, which says it will support marijuana-friendly candidates.

Second California Legalization Initiative Filed. Proponents of an open-source legalization initiative, the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2016 (MCLR), filed the effort with state officials in Sacramento today. The effort is being spearheaded by Americans for Policy Reform, which includes San Jose dispensary operator Dave Hodges and Sebastopol marijuana attorney Omar Figueroa, among others. Figueroa is also one of two proponents for another legalization initiative, the California Craft Cannabis Act, filed last week. More proposed initiatives are expected to follow. The recommended deadline for beginning signature-gathering is in early July. Stay tuned.

Medical Marijuana

Obama Suggests Support for Senate Medical Marijuana Bill. In an interview aired Sunday night on CNN's Weed 3 special with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Gupta asked the president if he would get behind the CARERS Act, which would reschedule marijuana and allow states with medical marijuana laws to proceed without threat of federal punishment. "You know, I think I’d have to take a look at the details," Obama replied, "but I’m on record as saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may  in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I’m also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we’re going to be."

Asset Forfeiture

Wyoming Legislative Committee Studies Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform. Gov. Matt Mead (R) vetoed an asset forfeiture reform bill earlier this year, but the legislature isn't giving up. The Joint Judiciary Committee met in Riverton last week and has directed staff to draft bills for next year's legislative session.

Drug Policy

Chicago Prosecutor Will Stop Prosecuting Simple Drug Possession. Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said today she intends to quit prosecuting people arrested for simple drug possession and instead link them to social agencies "for treatment rather than pursuing criminal penalties." Those drug possession felonies accounted for one-quarter of all felonies in the county last year. She also said she is not going to bother to prosecute misdemeanor marijuana possession cases, either.

New York City Legislation Would Create New Office of Drug Strategy. A proposal just offered by New York City council members would create the new office to coordinate official, expert, and community responses to drug use. It would enhance evidence-based drug education and public health interventions and simplify access to medical, social, and psychological services to drug users seeking help. The idea is to reduce the morbidity, mortality, crime, and racial disparities in law enforcement created by a one-sided law enforcement approach to the issue.

Harm Reduction

Indiana Governor Signs Bill to Ease Access to Overdose Reversal Drug. Last Friday, Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed into law SEA 406, which allows family members and friends of drug users to obtain the opiate overdose reversal drug naloxone. Previously, only health professionals could administer the drug.

International

Two More Big Australian States Announce Medical Marijuana Trials. Victoria and Queensland have now joined New South Wales in a clinical trial for medical marijuana. The three most populous states will hold clinical trials of cannabis oil for the treatment of chemotherapy-related nausea, severe epilepsy, and in palliative care.

Mexico Captures Top Juarez Cartel Leader. Federal troops last Friday captured Juarez Cartel head Jesus Aguayo in the town of Villa Ahumada in Chihuahua state. Aguayo took over leadership of the organization after authorities captured his predecessor, Vicente Carillo in October. 

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Australia: Family Backs Cannabis Trial

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 07:00
Geelong Advertiser, 20 Apr 2015 - THE family of a four-year-old boy has welcomed news the Victorian Government plans to fund a medicinal cannabis trial for people suffering terminal or life-threatening illnesses. Nationally recognised as one of the most controversial cases surrounding the use of the drug, epileptic Cooper Wallace's family stood tall during yesterday's announcement at Treasury Place.
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Australia: Cannabis Trial Could Require New Laws

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 07:00
The Courier-Mail, 20 Apr 2015 - THE State Government is still determining whether a legislative change will be needed for Queensland to take part in medicinal cannabis trials. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday announced Queensland would work with the NSW Government in trialling the medicinal use of cannabis.
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Australia: Let Us Be The First To Try

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 07:00
Cairns Post, 20 Apr 2015 - Premier swayed on cannabis trial by epileptics A CAIRNS mum whose two daughters suffer from a rare and painful disease wants them to be among the first patients involved in Queensland's medical cannabis trials
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Australia: Joy At Medical Cannabis Move

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 07:00
Herald Sun, 20 Apr 2015 - THE family of a four-year-old boy has welcomed news that the State Government plans to fund the use of medicinal cannabis in a trial for people suffering terminal or life-threatening illnesses. Nationally recognised as one of the most controversial cases surrounding the use of the drug, young epileptic Cooper Wallace, with his family, stood tall in light of the announcement.
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US IL: A 'Good Day' For Lawyer Who Fought Against Drug War

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 07:00
Chicago Tribune, 20 Apr 2015 - Would Al Capone have loved drug prohibition? This man thinks so James Gierach sounded almost giddy when I telephoned him Monday to get his reaction to Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's announcement that she would no longer prosecute misdemeanor marijuana cases and would refer non-violent felony drug offenders for treatment.
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CN BC: Boost Access To Medical Pot: Study

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 20 Apr 2015 - University of B.C. researcher wants to know how to make it easier for those who need medical marijuana to obtain their medicine Research out of the University of B.C. is examining new and old ways people are getting their hands on marijuana in an era loaded with legal and illegal ways to get the bud.
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Australia: State Joins Medical Trials Of Cannabis

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 07:00
Fraser Coast Chronicle, 20 Apr 2015 - Medicinal marijuana to be tested AN ADVOCATE for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis has welcomed Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's announcement the state will be part of scientific trials of the treatment for cancer, epilepsy and end-of-life patients.
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UK: They Won't Arrest Us All!

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 07:00
The Mail on Sunday, 19 Apr 2015 - Astonishing claim of the arrogant cannabis campaigners who intend to light up in public THOUSANDS of illegal drug users plan to flout the law by smoking cannabis in public tomorrow. Activists who want the Class-B substance legalised will taunt police by lighting up at the 'Cannabis Celebration' in Glasgow's George Square - claiming 'they can't arrest us all'.
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US OK: Legal Marijuana Could Be Coming To Oklahoma A On Tribal-Owned

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 07:00
The Oklahoman, 19 Apr 2015 - While the picture is still blurry, legal marijuana could be coming to Indian country in Oklahoma. Such a possibility may seem far-fetched, but recent policy pronouncements by the U.S. Department of Justice are making the once unthinkable a real possibility. While marijuana is still illegal in all of its forms in Oklahoma, more than 20 states have legalized it for either medical or recreational use. Nonetheless, it is still illegal in all states under federal law to manufacture, distribute or dispense marijuana.
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US OH: Portman Discusses Marijuana Legalization, Fair Trade

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 07:00
Morning Journal, 19 Apr 2015 - Legalizing marijuana will not help Ohio deal with the problem of drug abuse, said Sen. Rob Portman. The Cincinnati Republican spent April 17 in northern Ohio on multiple visits before heading to Lorain, where he was to deliver the keynote address for the Lorain County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner.
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CN ON: Study Shows Link Between Pot Use And Mental Health

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 07:00
Packet & Times, 18 Apr 2015 - Research indicates 50 to 70% of people with a mental illness also have a drug issue Of the patients admitted Orillia Soldiers ' Memorial Hospital's mental-health unit as a threat to themselves last year, records obtained under access-to-information laws reveal that 10% had used cannabis within the three days before.
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CN ON: 'Hair Tests' Shut Down

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 18 Apr 2015 - Decision follows Star investigation into results used in criminal and child protection cases across Canada The Hospital for Sick Children has permanently discontinued drug and alcohol hair tests at its embattled Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory after an internal review "further explored and validated" previous, and as yet undisclosed, "questions and concerns."
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Chronicle AM: Pot Legalization Inits Filed in AZ, MA; ID Gov Vetoes CBD Oil Bill, China Wages Drug War, More (4/17/15)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 21:02

Legalization efforts in Arizona and Massachusetts get rolling, there's more good polling, Idaho's governor vetoes a CBD cannabis oil bill over fears of "misuse and abuse," China is waging a major drug war, and more. 

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

Bloomberg Poll Has 58% Saying Pot Will Be Legal Within 20 Years. Nearly one-third (32%) think marijuana would never be legal, but two-thirds think it will, and the majority think it will happen in all 50 states within the next 20 years. Just 17% thought it would be legal within five years, but more than one-quarter (26%) thought it would be legal within 10 years and 13% said it would take the whole 20 years. Some very excitable folks (2%) thought legalization everywhere would happen in the next year.

Arizona Legalization Initiative Filed Today. The Marijuana Policy Project-backed Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol filed its initiative to tax and regulate marijuana with the secretary of state this afternoon. The initiative would allow adults 21 and over to possess, consume, and grow limited amounts of pot and would create a system of licensed and regulated marijuana commerce. It would let local governments opt out of allowing pot businesses and it would set a 15% tax on retail sales beyond the sales tax. Now, initiative backers must collect signatures from 150,642 registered Arizona voters by June 2016 in order to qualify the initiative for the November 2016 ballot.

Massachusetts Legalization Initiative Filed TodayBay State Repeal today filed with the attorney general's office a first draft of its proposed 2016 legalization initiative. The measure would repeal the state's marijuana laws and replace them with a system of taxed and regulated legal commerce. Adults 21 and over would be allowed to possess, consume, and grow limited amounts of marijuana for their personal use.

Medical Marijuana

Idaho Governor Vetoes CBD Cannabis Oil Bill. Gov. "Butch" Otter Thursday vetoed a bill that would have allowed the use of CBD cannabis oil to treat children suffering from epileptic seizures. Senate Bill 1146 had passed the House 39-30 and the Senate 22-12. Otter said the bill asked the state to ignore the potential for abuse and misuse, even though the oils don't contain enough THC for anyone to get high.

Asset Forfeiture

Texas Legislator Modifies Asset Forfeiture Bill to Counter Law Enforcement Objections. Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) said Thursday he is amending his civil asset forfeiture reform bill to address concerns raised by law enforcement. He said he would change it to allow the state to keep seized money if the person from whom it was seized absconds and to allow the seizure of vehicles valued at under $10,000. The bill is House Bill 3171.

International

China in Midst of Full-Blown Drug Crackdown. More than 133,000 people have been arrested and more than 43 tons of drugs seized in an ongoing six-month anti-drug campaign, the Ministry of Public Security announced. Authorities also announced that they had handled 115,000 "drug related" crimes, mostly robberies, and 606,000 cases of drug use. Officials said drug trafficking had suffered "a heavy blow" and drug users "forcefully regulated," but added that nine police had been killed in the campaign.

Stratfor Quarterly Update on Mexican Cartels. The Austin-based private intelligence and research firm has issued its quarterly update on the Mexican drug wars. It's quite detailed. Click on the link to read it. 

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Chronicle AM: Jamaica Decrim Now in Effect, First CA 2016 Legalization Init Filed, GA Gov Signs CBD Bill, More (4/16/15)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 22:43

A Northern California attorney is first out of the gate with a 2016 legalization initiative, a CBD cannabis oil bill becomes law in Georgia, and another awaits the governor's signature in Oklahoma, congressmen say they have "no confidence" in DEA head Leonhart, decrim is now in effect in Jamaica, and more. 

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

First 2016 California Legalization Initiative Filed.  Sebastopol marijuana attorney Omar Figueroa and attorney Heather Burke have filed the California Craft Cannabis Initiative, the first of what are expected to be several measures seeking to legalize marijuana in the state next year. Proponents say it is an inclusive effort designed to protect the state's legacy of artisanal marijuana growers. To make the ballot, initiatives must see their language approved by the state Attorney General's office, and then they have 180 days to gather more than half a million valid voter signatures.

Frustrated Vermont Legislators Propose Treating Alcohol Like Marijuana. A pair of House members Wednesday filed a bill that would ban alcohol and treat it like marijuana. The move was a frustrated reaction to stalled efforts to legalize marijuana and treat it like alcohol.  The bill is House Bill 502, and lead sponsor Rep. Chris Pearson (P-Burlington) said he doesn't really want to ban alcohol, but that the bill is a symbolic step "recognize recent scientific studies that demonstrate that alcohol use is significantly more dangerous than marijuana."

Medical Marijuana

2016 California Medical Marijuana Initiative Filed. A group of medical marijuana activists have filed the Compassionate and Sensible Access Act, which is designed to protect a doctor's right to recommend medical marijuana and limit officials' ability to regulate cultivation, distribution, and transportation of the plant. To make the ballot, the language must first be approved by state officials, then campaigners will have to gather more than half a million valid voter signatures within 180 days of starting.

Georgia Governor Signs CBD Cannabis Oil Bill. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) today signed into law House Bill 1, which allows for the use of CBD cannabis oil for a list of specified diseases and medical conditions. The bill allows patients to possess the oil, but has no provision for obtaining it in the state.

Oklahoma Legislature Approves CBD Cannabis Oil Bill. The Senate Wednesday unanimously approved House Bill 124, which would allow for the use of the oil to treat seizure disorders in children. The bill passed the House in February and now heads to the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin (R).

Asset Forfeiture

Iowa House Committee Hearing on Asset Forfeiture Reform Gets Heated. Law enforcement squared off against civil libertarians in a House Government Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday. No bill was on the agenda, but committee Chair Rep. Bobby Kaufman (R-Wilton) said after the hearing he planned to author reform legislation next year. Click on the link for more detail.

Drug Policy

Federal Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Bill Filed. Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) has reintroduced the bill, HR 1812. It's been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Law Enforcement

House Oversight Committee Has "No Confidence" in DEA Head Leonhart. Fed up with DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart over a long litany of scandals in the drug-fighting agency she heads, 22 members of the House Oversight and Government Reforms Committee issued a statement yesterday saying they had "no confidence" in her leadership. "After over a decade of serving in top leadership positions at DEA, Administrator Leonhart has been woefully unable to change or positively influence the pervasive 'good old boy' culture that exists throughout the agency," the statement said. "From her testimony, it is clear that she lacks the authority and will to make the tough decisions required to hold those accountable who compromise national security and bring disgrace to their position. Ms. Leonhart has lost the confidence of this Committee to initiate the necessary reforms to restore the reputation of a vital agency."

Sordid Philadelphia Police Drug War Corruption Trial Underway. This one is a doozy! A trial now in its third week is ripping the lid off scandalously criminal behavior by the police department's dope squad. Stolen drug money, planted evidence, perjured testimony, beaten suspects, it's got it all. Click on the link for more detail.

International

Jah Herb is Now Decriminalized in Jamaica. Marijuana decriminalization went into effect Wednesday in the island nation. Anyone, including foreign tourists, can now possess up to two ounces of ganja and face only a $5 fine. And any household can now grow up to five plants. And adult Rastafarians can now use the herb for religious purposes. Irie.

Elite Texas Cops "Spied on Mexico," Report Says. Department of Public Safety documents show that an elite reconnaissance team formed by Gov. Rick Perry did aerial surveillance of Mexican drug cartel targets on the Mexican side of the border. Aircraft were used to track suspected Zeta cartel members and passed that information on to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which in turn worked with Mexican military forces to target them. 

Categories: Latest News

Key Congressional Committee Has "No Confidence" in DEA Head Leonhart [FEATURE]

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 21:37

This article was published in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

Fed up with DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart over a long litany of scandals in the drug-fighting agency she heads, 22 members of the House Oversight and Government Reforms Committee issued a statement yesterday saying they had "no confidence" in her leadership.

Update: Leonhart is retiring.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]"After over a decade of serving in top leadership positions at DEA, Administrator Leonhart has been woefully unable to change or positively influence the pervasive 'good old boy' culture that exists throughout the agency," the statement said. "From her testimony, it is clear that she lacks the authority and will to make the tough decisions required to hold those accountable who compromise national security and bring disgrace to their position. Ms. Leonhart has lost the confidence of this Committee to initiate the necessary reforms to restore the reputation of a vital agency."

The statement came in the immediate wake of a committee hearing yesterday over a Justice Department Office of the Inspector General report on sexual misconduct by department employees that found DEA agents in Colombia had been partying with prostitutes, with the tab being picked up by US taxpayers -- or sometimes by drug cartels.

At the hearing, Leonhart was excoriated by members over her failure to adequately discipline the agents involved -- the most serious punishments were short-term suspensions -- and her insistence that agency personnel rules tied her hands.

But committee members were having none of it.

"Do you think you're the right person for this job?" asked Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the top Democrat on the committee.

"You're protecting people who solicited prostitutes, who had 15 to 20 sex parties," said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA). "This is a very serious issue and you've done nothing... I actually feel your system is protecting these people."

If the representatives' frustration was palpable, it was because they have been down this path of scandal too many times before with Leonhart at the helm. Here's just a selection of the controversies surrounding the agency since she took over in 2008, or which involve her own long history with the agency:

  • The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General currently has six open investigations into numerous DEA scandals, including the massacre of civilians in Honduras, the use of NSA data to both spy on virtually all Americans and to systematically fabricate evidence, and controversial uses of confidential informants.
  • Leonhart herself has been at the center of several scandals, including the House of Death scandal in which the DEA may have turned a blind eye to torture and murder, and the Andrew Chambers scandal, in which the DEA rehired a confidential informant with a history of lying.
  • DEA conflicts with Obama administration policy. Last year, Leonhart publicly rebuked President Obama for admitting that marijuana is as safe as alcohol, told members of Congress that the DEA will continue to go after marijuana even in states where it is legal despite DOJ guidance stating otherwise, and spoke out against bipartisan drug sentencing reform in Congress that the Obama administration is supporting.
  • Last May, the DEA created a political firestorm when it seized seeds bound for a Kentucky hemp research program that was approved by Congress. Then Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the incident "an outrage" and the Kentucky Agriculture Department sued the DEA.
  • The DEA's refusal to acknowledge science. DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart has on several occasions ignored science and overruled the DEA's own administrative law judges on medical issues relating to marijuana.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]]Drug reformers, who have long criticized Leonhart's last-century attitudes and approach to drug policy, were calling for her head.

"This ought to be the final nail in the Leonhart coffin," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. "I cannot see how President Obama and AG Holder allow her to continue in her role. It's hard to think of a more incompetent and out of touch federal official than the current DEA chief. Her time is up. Leonhart has clashed with Republicans, Democrats, the White House, and civil society leaders. She reflects an outdated approach to the drug war that President Obama claims he wants to leave behind."

"There's simply no excuse for the outrageous behavior of the DEA's so-called leadership," said Major Neill Franklin (Ret'd.), executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a criminal justice group working to end the drug war. "Leonhart just helps us add to the list of reasons of why we need to rethink our entire approach to drug policy."

Will the scorching rebuke from Congress be enough to force Leonhart out the door or to convince her superiors to give her a nudge? Time will tell, but it appears her days are numbered.

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