DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Far from being discouraged by the shifts in public opinion, state laws and even within the Obama administration on the legalization of marijuana, federal drug agents are now driven to “fight harder,” Drug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart said Wednesday.
Leonhart, who reportedly criticized President Barack Obama for comparing marijuana to alcohol during a closed-door meeting with a law enforcement organization, suggested during testimony Wednesday before a House Appropriations subcommittee that voters in Washington state and Colorado were duped into legalizing marijuana.
While several questions from Republican members of the committee referred to Obama’s marijuana comments, as well as to Attorney General Eric Holder‘s decision in August to allow marijuana regulation to proceed largely unchallenged, Leonhart’s answers tiptoed around any direct criticism of her bosses. But Leonhart did say that DEA’s issues with the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado were “well known” within the Justice Department and the White House before DOJ made its decision. She noted that there was “a lot of confusion in that 296 days while they were reviewing it and deciding how to proceed.”