The chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration is going to retire.
Michele Leonhart is stepping down amidst a controversy after an inspector general report found that some DEA agents had sex parties in Colombia with prostitute paid for by drug cartels.
Leonhart, who is a hawk on drug enforcement, last year took issue with President Obama’s comments that marijuana isn’t a dangerous substance or is no more dangerous than alcohol.
Some chronic pain patients and advocates have not been thrilled with Leonhart. It was under her watch that the DEA ruled last October to change hydrocodone combination products from Schedule III to a stricter Schedule II.
The result appears to be fewer hydrocodone prescriptions being written and filled which has drawn the ire of some chronic pain patients and providers.
There’s no indication to believe that Leonhart’s resignation will mean a change in the DEA scheduling of hydrocodone.
Those who are working to get marijuana approved were happy she is stepping down. Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project issued this statement this afternoon.
“Ms. Leonhart consistently and recklessly undermined President Obama’s mandate that public policy be guided by science instead of ideology. Her resignation will allow the president to appoint an administrator who will rely on the facts rather than ignore them.”
“Most Americans, including President Obama, recognize the fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. Yet, Ms. Leonhart was unwilling to even acknowledge that marijuana poses less potential harm than heroin and methamphetamine.”
“While most of the country has been progressing in its views on marijuana policy, Ms. Leonhart has maintained a mindset straight out of the 1930s. Hopefully her resignation will mark the end of the ‘Reefer Madness’ era at the DEA.”
Leonhart appeared before Congress on April 14 where she had to answer the charges raised by the Inspector General report. The investigation of allegations of misconduct has been underway since mid-2013.
She had a tough day of it, as CNN reported.