The latest buzz in cannabis news is surrounding the retirement of the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Michele Leonhart. Leonhart was notorious for coming down hard on folks in the marijuana industry, including medical and recreational businesses operating legally within their state. She also publicly disagreed with the President Barack Obama on his position that marijuana was no more dangerous than alcohol, and she opposed former Attorney General Eric Holder's policy to reduce penalties for non-violent drug offenses. Leonhart publicly opposed moves by states like Colorado to legalize recreational marijuana, despite Obama's support for such moves.
The news of her retirement has stirred up questions about what this will mean for the new law changes regarding recreational marijuana here in Oregon, and cannabis lobbyists are jumping on this opportunity to push for a more cannabis-friendly candidate for DEA chief.
Ultimately, the cannabis lobby hopes to remove the federal ban on marijuana completely, but in the meantime the early retirement of Leonhart opens a door for progress. The hope is that President Obama will nominate someone more aligned with the administration's openness to marijuana reform. Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer said in a statement, "I encourage the President to use this as an opportunity to fill this important role with someone who understands the outdated federal approach to marijuana isn't working... Most now feel marijuana should be legalized."