The coalition of former Drug Enforcement Administration chiefs who are opposing California’s Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana is contested by Eric Sterling of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundaiton. Sterling says the ex-DEA administrators do not defend the current federal marijuana prohibition with evidence that marijuana's harms are so great that users must be denied the liberty to take the minimal risks attendant to its use.
Sterling also says the ex-DEA officials do not assert that prohibiting pot reduces crime or give any specifics about potential arm to the U.S. if Proposition 19 is approved. Sterling doubts that the federal government could successfully sue California if its voters approve marijuana legalization. He says, “Marijuana prohibition is not in the Constitution. Federal power over marijuana is based on the commerce clause. Our law is filled with areas in which there is both federal and state regulation of various aspects of commerce.”