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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