Holder: Feds Won't Ease Up on Pot Arrests

It's still against federal law, no matter what California decides

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 15, 2010 5:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – Eric Holder would like to remind Californians that marijuana will still be illegal under federal law no matter the outcome of next month's ballot initiative. And the attorney general promised to "vigorously enforce" that federal law. Holder slammed Prop 19 as something that "will greatly complicate federal drug enforcement efforts to the detriment of our citizens"—and declared that "the Department of Justice will remain firmly committed to enforcing the Controlled Substances Act in all states," the LA Weekly reports.

Supporters of Prop 19 responded that Holder's threats are largely empty because of the logistical difficulty of policing the drug at the local level using federal agents. But Prop 19 has detractors at the local level as well—LA Sheriff Lee Baca has vowed to continue enforcing pot prohibition even if the law passes. Could be messy.

Susan Recht holds up a bud of marijuana she purchased at the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Clinic in San Francisco, Friday, Oct. 15, 2010.
Susan Recht holds up a bud of marijuana she purchased at the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Clinic in San Francisco, Friday, Oct. 15, 2010.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks to law school students at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks to law school students at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010.   (AP Photo/Tuscaloosa News, Dusty Compton)
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