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Obama Selects New Interim Director for DEA

Chuck Rosenberg

President Obama has selected Chuck Rosenberg, a senior F.B.I. official and former United States attorney, as the interim director of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Former DEA director Michele Leonhart announced her retirement last month amidst accusations that DEA agents in Colombia had participated in sex parties with prostitutes paid for by drug cartels and for repeatedly clashing with the Obama administration on its more tolerant approach towards states that have legalized marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal use.

“The new DEA chief has a tough job ahead,” said the director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Let’s hope he’s in line with the political consensus in favor of scaling back mass incarceration and the worst harms of the drug war.”

“Drug prohibition, like alcohol Prohibition, breeds crime, corruption, and violence – and creates a situation where law enforcement officers must risk their lives in a fight that can’t be won,” said executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “It’s time to reform not just the DEA but broader U.S. and global drug policy. The optimal drug policy would reduce the role of criminalization and the criminal justice system in drug control to the greatest extent possible, while protecting public safety and health.”

In 2014, Congress passed a spending limitation amendment prohibiting the DEA from undermining state marijuana laws. It was signed into law by President Obama, but expires later this year. The U.S. House also approved two amendments prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp laws.