DEA's Karen Tandy on Medical Marijuana



On July 31, 2003, the U.S. Senate confirmed Karen P. Tandy as Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). According to the U.S. DEA's website, Tandy "won the Senate confirmation by unanimous consent."

Tandy, 49, was nominated on March, 2003 by President George W. Bush. At the time Tandy was serving as Associate Deputy Attorney General and Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

In the June, 2003 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tandy's nomination, she was asked several questions about medical marijuana. Her responses, as compiled by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) are as follows:

Subject Tandy's Response Related Info on this Site
Marijuana's medical benefits "The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, has been accepted as having medicinal value when processed into Marinol. Marijuana itself, however, has not been shown to have medicinal benefits; accordingly, I have no basis for believing that marijuana, and specifically smoking marijuana, has any such benefits." To read about marijuana and Marinol, click here.

To read the pros and cons of marijuana's medical value & use, click here.

The 1999 U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report and DEA chief administrative law judge Francis L. Young's 1988 ruling. "I am not personally familiar with the sources you cite discussing the putative 'medicinal benefits of marijuana.'" To read about The 1999 U.S. IOM Report, click here.

To read about Judge Young, click here.

On enforcing federal laws against state-approved medical marijuana providers. "DEA's priorities should reflect the need to encourage adherance [sic] to the law. ... [I]t is not improper for the government to prosecute individuals who make a point of disobeying the law, and encouraging others to disobey it, even if the disobedience is said to be for reasons of conscience." To read about state medical marijuana guidelines, click here.
On DEA raids on state-approved medical marijuana patients and providers. "If I am confirmed as Administrator of the DEA, it will be my duty to see to the uniform enforcement of federal law. I do not believe it would be consistent with that duty for me to support a moratorium on enforcement of this law, or any law, in selected areas of the country." To read about federal actions against medical marijuana groups and individuals, click here.
On the creation of "a special, well-balanced commission to evaluate the reclassification of marijuana from a Schedule I drug (considered to be potentially addictive and with no current medical use) to a Schedule II drug (potentially addictive but with some accepted medical use)." "I believe that current law and judicial review provide adequate mechanisms for the balanced review of the appropriate scheduling of marijuana. This system has been in place for over thirty years. If such a commission is established, I will if confirmed as Administrator, offer my full cooperation. My own view is that the present mechanisms for examining classification issues are sufficient." To read about drug rescheduling criteria,
click here.