The state of
could find itself in a battle with the U.S Department of Justice if voters pass Proposition 19 next month. California
The proposed measure to legalize marijuana may be the most popular issue on the state's ballot.
"Proposition 19, if it passes, is going to be unconstitutional and void," said Robert Bonner, former director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. "It is a direct conflict with federal law."
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department is firmly committed to enforcing the controlled substances act in all states -- even if Proposition 19 passes in the -- a position that's meeting opposition. Golden State
"I would remind the attorney general of the words of Abe Lincoln. Our government is for by the people, for the people," former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara said.
The controversial legislation would allow adults in
to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use. California
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and a number of
law enforcement officials are against the measure. California
"We will continue to force the law, in partnership with the federal agencies of
," he said. America
However, observers say if voters pass the law, local police will have a tough time making arrests on federal law alone.
"It is difficult for the street line deputy to make arrests on federal cases. They just don't do that. As a former police officer, I can tell you I did not arrest people for federal laws," said Kyle Kazan, a Prop. 19 supporter.
Legalizing marijuana could also mean a financial windfall for the financially-strapped state as pot is
's biggest cash crop according to some estimates, legalizing marijuana could save nearly $1 billion a year in enforcement costs and also generate $350 million in state and local tax revenue. California
"Marijuana is the most popular thing on the ballot. I think it's the only candidate there that has a majority," the San Francisco Chronicle's Phil Matier said.
It's been 14 years since marijuana became legal with a doctor's note in
. Political analyts say Proposition 19 has a good chance of passing, which is not good news for the Obama administration. California