Ex-DEA Chiefs to Press Holder On Opposing State Pot Legalization Propositions


Echoing a story earlier this week on Fox News, the Washington Post displayed on its front page an article on the U.S. Justice Department’s silence on ballot propositions on marijuana legalization in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. Federal law prohibits the production, possession and sale of marijuana and classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, putting it in the same category as LSD and heroin.

Nine former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration urged Attorney General Eric Holder to oppose the ballot initiatives that, if passed, would make the states the first in the nation to decriminalize marijuana for recreational use by adults. Holder opposed 2010 California marijuana legalization initiative that failed. The former officials are planning to hold a news conference Monday to press their concerns more publicly. “The Justice Department should speak out ahead of the ballot initiatives to avoid immediate court action,” said Peter Bensinger, DEA administrator from 1976 to 1981. “The initiatives will be in direct conflict with federal law, international treaty obligations and Supreme Court rulings.”

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