Michele Leonhart, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration,managed to avoid answering some tough questions about marijuana policy from Rep. Jared Polis on Wednesday. Leonhart managed to keep refusing to answer a number of questions about the comparative health impacts of marijuana and Crack, Heroin and other harder drugs.
Leonard was testifying before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. Polis, who represents one of the most progressive states in the country when it comes to Marijuana laws, took the opportunity to grill the DEA administrator on some specifics about marijuana. In Colorado, where Polis is from, marijuana has been decriminalized in some parts of his state and legalized for medical purposes in the rest.
Polis started by saying,
“Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?”
“I believe all illegal drugs are bad,” Leonhart answered.
Polis continued, asking whether methamphetamines and heroin were worse for a person’s health than marijuana.
“Again, all drugs, they’re illegal drugs,” Leonhart said and then she was cut off by Polis saying,
“Yes, no, or I don’t know? If you don’t know, you can look this up. You should know this as the chief administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency. I’m asking a very straightforward question: Is heroin worse for someone’s health than marijuana?”
Leonhart went back to her canned answer saying, “All illegal drugs are bad.”
Leonhart has been a controversial figure in the drug policy reform community since she was named acting administrator of the DEA. When President Obama was running for office in 2008 he said that his Administration would instruct the DEA to make medical marijuana dispensaries a very low priority. Since then that policy has been completely ignored.