Thursday, June 21, 2012

DEA chief refuses to admit heroin is worse than marijuana

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Michele Leonhart (Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration)
Michele Leonhart

I’m not sure which warps brains more, being on drugs or being put in charge of overseeing the ever-ongoing (and worsening) Drug War. Just look at poor Michele Leonhart, the DEA chief best known for declaring that mounting drug violence leading to scores of children being murdered is a sure sign that prohibitionists are approaching victory over the cartels. And now, here she is, unable (or unwilling) to admit that there are worse drugs in existence than mere weed:

During a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart repeatedly refused to admit that anything was more addictive or harmful than marijuana.

Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado pressed Leonhart on whether illegal drugs like methamphetamine and crack, as well as legal prescription drugs, caused greater harm to public health compared to marijuana. But within a three minute time-span, Leonhart dodged his questions eleven times.

“Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?” Polis, who has called for an end to marijuana prohibition, asked.

“I believe all illegal drugs are bad,” Leonhart responded.

“Is methamphetamine worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?” Polis continued. “Is heroin worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?”

“Again, all drugs,” Leonhart began to say, only to be cut off by Polis.

“Yes, no, or I don’t know?” Polis said. “If you don’t know this, you can look this up. As the chief administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency, I’m asking a very straightforward question.”

Be sure to watch the video of the exchange, which really brings home just how clueless she sounds:

She must’ve been separated from Mr. Mackey at birth. It’s hard to tell whether she was being deliberately obscure in her zeal to demonize all drugs as equally bad, or if she really is that dumb. Neither scenario paints a particularly reassuring portrait of her being the head of the U.S. drug police.

Coincidentally, only a few minutes ago as of this writing, I was talking with Zon about how awesome it is that IBM now has an intelligent and accomplished female CEO who can serve as a sterling role model for young ambitious women everywhere. I suppose every yin has its yang.

(via @radleybalko)