Passage of California’s initiative to legalize pot for recreational use may open up a legal war between California and the federal government, says the Sacramento Bee. Some fear a renewed surge of federal raids, similar to actions that shut down medical pot shops, targeted suppliers and doctors after California voters passed Proposition 215, its medical marijuana law, in 1996. Even some fervent proponents of the initiative to allow anyone 21 and over to smoke pot say federal authorities would quickly sue California to overturn the new law.
Former Drug Enforcement Administration director Robert Bonner said the California measure conflicts with United Nations treaties signed to prevent the spread of psychoactive drugs. “The United States has treaties that would be violated if Proposition 19 were enacted. It would send a terrible signal to countries of the world,” he said. Santa Clara University law Prof. Gerald Uelmen says Proposition 19 could upset the accord that federal agents and California established with medical use: “If we open the door to lawful cultivation and distribution for recreational use, I think there will be a very strong reaction.”