There are a number of razor-close political races happening in California this November. Voters couldn’t give a hoot. All they care about is ganja.
This year, attention has been shifted from political races and re-focused on Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana for recreational use in the Golden State. The debate has been anything but relaxed.
The National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the Marijuana Policy Project, several other grassroots activist groups and even rapper Snoop Dogg have been lobbying for the proposition, which has dominated California social media in the past few weeks. Snoop even issued a statement.
"I really believe it will take California to another level," Snoop said in an interview with George Lopez. "They got Blueberry, Strawberry, Purple, OG Kush. They even have Obama Kush. That's when you're blowin' presidential."
That may have been precisely the opposite tone taken by all nine former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrators, who issued a joint statement on Monday with over a dozen national activist groups to condemn the legislation. Their tour de force was organized for two reasons: to send a message to California voters, and to send a message to Attorney General Eric Holder, who they believe has jurisdiction over the constitutionality of the issue.
“Plain and simple, science and experience tell us that passing legislation to legalize marijuana is bad medicine and bad public policy,” said Robert Lindsey, President of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, as part of a release. “Without question, legalizing marijuana will increase availability, especially for young people, and will result in increased use and increased costs to be paid by each and every citizen of California.”
The coalition asked Attorney General Eric Holder to examine the Proposition’s legality in relation to the Supremacy Clause. The coalition of DEA administrators sent a letter to Holder addressing the issue, and requesting a public comment.
“The CSA itself clearly states that federal law preempts state law when there is a positive conflict between the two jurisdictions,” said the DEA administrators, in the letter. “The California proposition is not a close call; it will be a clear conflict with established federal law and in fact will also violate our government’s treaty obligations ratified by Congress.”
Critics say that the feds would have a hard time compelling an individual state to enforce a Constitutional clause if the state’s voters chose otherwise, but it could get dicey.
The DEA chiefs and their allies spent most of their time on Monday talking about the health and business ramifications of the bill.
“As a medical doctor who has worked for more than four decades in drug abuse treatment and prevention I am certain that the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, known as Proposition 19, to legalize marijuana use in California will have a seriously negative impact on the nation's public health. If passed, Proposition 19 will lead more people into addiction and subsequently into treatment,” said Robert L. DuPont, MD, Founding Director of National Institute on Drug Abuse.