Courts & Crime

Feds will enforce pot laws in California even if Prop. 19 wins

Attorney General Eric Holder vowed this week to "vigorously enforce" federal laws against marijuana even if California voters approve a November initiative legalizing its use for recreational purposes.

In a letter to former drug enforcement administrators, Holder called prosecution against marijuana users, distributors and manufacturers a "core priority" of the Department of Justice and said it would remain so regardless of whether Proposition 19 passes. The letter marked the first time Holder has directly indicated what position his department would take should the recreational use initiative become state law.

"Let me state clearly that the Department of Justice strongly opposes Proposition 19," Holder said in a letter dated Wednesday. "If passed, this legislation will greatly complicate federal drug enforcement efforts to the detriment of our citizens."

Proponents of Proposition 19 said Holder was "posturing."

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