WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder says the federal government will enforce its marijuana laws in California even if the state’s voters approve a ballot measure to legalize the drug.

LA County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore talks with KNX 1070’s Jack Popejoy and Vicky Moore

Holder says the Justice Department strongly opposes California’s Proposition 19 and remains firmly committed to enforcing the federal Controlled Substances Act in all states.

He made the comments in a letter to former chiefs of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter, dated Wednesday.

“We will vigorously enforce the CSA against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law,” Holder wrote.

He also said that legalizing recreational marijuana in California would be a “significant impediment” to the government’s joint efforts with state and local law enforcement to target drug traffickers, who often distribute marijuana alongside cocaine and other drugs. Holder said approval of the ballot measure would “significantly undermine” efforts to keep California communities safe.

If Proposition 19 passes in November, California would become the first state to legalize and regulate recreational pot use. Adults could possess up to an ounce of the drug.

California, like 13 other states and the District of Columbia, has legalized medical marijuana. In that realm, federal agents have focused on busting dispensaries they said were using medical marijuana as a front for traditional drug-dealing.

“We will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal,” Holder said in a statement a year ago. A Justice Department memo issued at the time urges federal prosecutors to pursue marijuana cases which involve violence, the illegal use of firearms, selling pot to minors, money laundering or involvement in other crimes.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (24)
  1. American 1776 says:

    You have to ask where the Fed. gov. priorities are. Will go after Americans right to smoke a little MJ, but will ignore the deaths of 25 citizens a day by illegal aliens. Better to get the smokers and let the murderers run free. Make sense to me.

    1. JCR says:

      Ignorant comments like : “but will ignore the deaths of 25 citizens a day by illegal aliens” are the reasons why we cant get anywhere. What about the thousands of deaths every year because of alcohol and tabacco? What about the thousands of deaths every year by prescription drugs? what about the thoudans of deaths every year because of guns? Your “facts” are based on prejudice and only make just the idea of dealing with illegal drugs almost impossible.

  2. CaliforniaBoy says:

    Let’s see if the Feds can do a better job preventing marijuana use and distribution then they’ve done patrollling our borders for illegal immigrants. DOUBT IT !!

  3. American 2010 says:

    It’s ignorant people like you that make the US Gov. Make no sense of anything 🙂

  4. Al says:

    California is a joke. Who do they think they are trying to pass a stupid proposition that clearly viloates federal law? ridiculous!

  5. Free says:

    To Freeedem hating AL.

    A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.
    -Abraham Lincoln

    1. Al says:

      I love our freedoms, but I don’t want to be driving on a freeway full of pot heads.

      1. ReginaM says:

        Right now you’re driving on a freeway full of pill poppers, meth addicts, heroin addicts, and drunks, just to name a few. Anyone DUI deserves jail. According to news reports it’s not happening the way it should. We find out that a drunk driver with a number of arrests has killed an entire family.
        This is for the recreational use of a plant. Harmless recreational use of a plant by adults 21yrs of age.

  6. brownstruggles says:

    California is a big part of we the people, or did you forget that it’s one of the biggest most populated state in the US. When people of california speak the feds listen. Liquor and Tobacco once violated federal law, but the rich white men who make country wide decisions saw a lot of money in it and couldn’t resist. Check your history and see why Marijuana was considered illegal in the first place. PURE PREJUDICE AGAINST THOSE DANG MEXICANS. They wanted them out after the Great depression, so they said the mexican workers were going crazy off marijuana lets make it illegal and kick them all back to mexico. First the Indians then the mexicans. What’s next weed smoking white people?

    1. Al says:

      So- try to get the US congress to pass the same law.

      1. ReginaM says:

        We are trying. One state at a time.

  7. tford says:

    There has never been a death by over dosing marijuana

    1. Pete Q says:

      The kids who ate his moms grass laced brownie or the grannies hemp margarine
      got pretty sick

      1. robert k says:

        what about moms pills and booze

  8. Brownstruggles says:

    He Al, you already drive on the freeways with a bunch of potheads. You think there not out there?

  9. Me says:

    Last thing we need are more potheads driving in LA.

    Smoke all u want(none of my biz) but stay home!! Unfortunately, you don’t!

  10. ReginaM says:

    It’s not a drug. It’s a plant.

    1. Duh says:

      So is Heroin and cocaine…you want to make that legal too?

  11. BobA says:

    I Thought Obama told the FEDs to quit harassing Pot smokers?

  12. sean perrotti says:

    it’s a plant. If we found pot in the jungle yesterday it would be a wonder drug that everyone would use. Instead everyone just follows what they are told….STOP being a follower. Damn drons…..wake up it’s revenue for the state and we need it….

  13. LaTisha Conchita Schwartzberg says:

    We trust people with guns, yet we can’t trust people with pot. Just shows how wacky rightwingers are.

    1. JGoodman says:

      This is the Obama Administration. They are not right wingers.

  14. BOBB-E says:

    So the FEDS will enforce laws on Marijuana
    but turn a blind eye on illegals

  15. robert k says:

    Welcome to ca where your vote dosent really count!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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