ACLU Writes AG Holder to Back Off on Prop 19

The ACLU wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder today about California's Prop 19 that would legalize adult possession of marijuana in the state.

The letter asks Holder and Kerlikowske to stop threatening costly litigation and the deployment of federal drug police to arrest individuals who might use marijuana if the state enacts the proposition, which would allow adults 21 and older to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal use and allow cities and counties to regulate and tax commercial sales. The letter calls such rhetoric "unnecessarily alarmist" and says it does little to foster a balanced discussion of a legitimate policy issue.

"Proposition 19 would remove state criminal penalties for certain adult marijuana use," says the ACLU's letter. "The new law would not require anyone to do anything in violation of federal law. There would be no positive conflict."


The ACLU says California has every right to enact Prop 19, and there's no reason for the feds to treat its passage any differently than its response to state medical marijuana laws:

"We commend DOJ's instruction last year to U.S. attorneys that prosecuting medical marijuana patients who comply with state laws should not be a federal law enforcement priority," the ACLU's letter reads. "The very same standards should apply if Proposition 19 is enacted. Regardless of the federal government's disagreement with California's choice to amend state criminal law, it makes no more sense for the federal government to waste scarce resources policing low-level, non-violent marijuana offenses after Proposition 19 passes, than before."

The letter is accessible here.

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    Hmmm . . . . (none / 0) (#1)
    by nycstray on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 10:54:22 PM EST
    . . . and the deployment of federal drug police to arrest individuals who might use marijuana if the state enacts the proposition

    maybe Ca should think about 'guarding' other borders  :)

    question, if i get caught with an ounce or less of pot (iirc), it's 'just' a $100 fine. why would the feds care if there was no fine? why would they care if Ca is retailing pot very much in the same way they retail wine? (yes, i see aisles of 'vintage' ;) ) wtf is the dif if i have a glass of wine or more or take a couple hits? or grow some bud vs make my own wine?

    i should note, these are questions from a person that hasn't smoked pot in, um, a couple decades. (OY!) and my 75 yo mom doesn't seem to have a prob with the laws changing and her daughter taking a hit or 2 or growing a plant. and she's a repub!! lol!~

    if people don't want to drink/and or agree with it, they don't have to. same should go for pot.

    Good questions... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 26, 2010 at 08:40:00 AM EST
    No, the feds should not care...but they can make some "tough on crime/drugs" hay out of it, who they think that impresses anymore beats the sh*t outta me (LE and Corrections lobbies?), as you said Stray even Granny is down.  And my dear old moms, who used to throw away my paraphenalia, has seen the light.  

    Earth to Dem establishment...reefer ain't the boogey-buzz anymore, this ain't the 60's or even the 80's....join the 21st century!

    And no, there is no real difference between a few pokes and a glass of wine, watching television, reading a magazine or any number of things people do to relax.


    Prop 19 poll (none / 0) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Oct 26, 2010 at 01:07:26 PM EST
    Voters now oppose Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization measure, 49% to 44%, and the measure to halt a law that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions, 48% to 37%.[...]

    The latest poll found support had eroded significantly across all demographic groups, but most steeply among Latino voters. In September, 63% backed it. Now, 51% oppose it.

    Mark Baldassare, the organization's pollster, said the drop may have come because of a barely visible campaign.

    He noted that the proponents have to persuade voters that people like them support the initiative. "The burden of proof is always on the yes side," he said.

    He also said that opponents seemed more passionate about the issue.

    Among likely voters who said the legalization issue was very important to them, 33% planned to vote for it and 63% against it.

    Baldassare also said the poll found no indication that young people were more enthused about marijuana legalization than older voters.

    Democrats have started to talk about using the issue as a way to motivate young voters in 2012.

    fwiw, I'm voting for it... (none / 0) (#4)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Oct 26, 2010 at 01:15:29 PM EST
    Eww... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 26, 2010 at 01:34:10 PM EST
    don't like that poll one bit...seems to run counter to other recent polls.  We shall see soon enough I guess...I still have faith the people of Cali will pass this puppy.

    Meanwhile...our lock for next Governor still won't even touch medical mj for crying out loud, never mind recreational...Cuomo says "I won't let NY go to pot"...too late Andy, too late...we've already gone to pot, and it ain't because of pot, its because of lame-o Dem leadership such as what you're selling.  Even Crazy Carl is more reasonable on this issue.