Attorney General Eric Holder says that even if California voters legalize marijuana via Proposition 19, the federal government will continue to prosecute pot cases there.
On Friday, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Obama administration would “vigorously enforce” federal drug laws against people who sell, distribute or grow marijuana for recreational use. Holder sent a letter to nine former chiefs of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, saying in part: “Let me state clearly that the Department of Justice strongly opposes Proposition 19. If passed, this legislation will greatly complicate federal drug enforcement efforts to the detriment of our citizens.” Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca hosted a news conference Friday morning to draw attention to the letter. Prop. 19 would allow Californians 21 and older to grow up to 25 square feet of cannabis plants, and to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. It would also empower cities and counties to regulate marijuana cultivation and sales. Several municipalities are poised to do so if the law passes, with initiatives concerning taxation and regulation on the same ballot as Prop. 19.
The Tenthers are surely salivating at the prospect of this potential clash between state and federal laws. However many have pointed out that the feds simply don’t have the manpower to launch any significant campaign against home-grown pot in California.