During a Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, Democratic congressmen Jared Polis and Steve Cohen had the opportunity to question Michele Leonhart, the head of the DEA.
Both Polis and Cohen are in favor of medical marijuana legalization. Their questions were about the dangers of marijuana in comparison to the other drugs it is grouped with as a Schedule I drug, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
Leonhart blatantly dodged every question, which led the Representatives to become frustrated and fiery in their interaction.
Below is a transcript of the conversations between Cohen, Polis, and Leonhart.
Polis: Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?
Leonhart: I believe all illegal drugs are bad.
Polis: Is methamphetamine worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?
Leonhart: I don’t think any illegal drug is good.
Polis: (Slightly cutting off Leonhart) Is heroin worse for someone’s health than marijuana?
Leonhart: Again, all drugs…
Polis: (Cutting off Leonhart) It’s either ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘I don’t know.’ If you don’t know you can look this up. You should know as the Chief administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency. Is heroin worse for someone’s health than marijuana?
During Rep. Cohen’s line of questioning, he received the same string of non-answers.
Cohen: Would you agree that marijuana causes less harm to individuals than meth, crack, cocaine, and heroin?”
Leonhart: As a former police officer, as a 32-year DEA agent, I can tell you that I think marijuana is an insidious drug.
Cohen: That’s not the question I asked you ma’am. Does [marijuana] cause less damage to the American society and to individuals than meth, crack, cocaine, and heroin? Does it make people have to kill to get their fix?
Leonhart: I can tell you that more teens enter treatment for…
Cohen: (Cutting off Leonhart) Can you answer my question?
Each congressman utilized their allotted time to ask questions, but Leonhart did not provide them with any legitimate answers during that amount of time. Leonhart’s vague responses to simple and legitimate questions about the dangers of marijuana show her lack of a valid argument for the illegality of marijuana, or why it should be classified as a Schedule I drug.