In November Californians will vote on the Regulation, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, also known as Proposition 19, which, if passed, would make California the first state to legalize marijuana. The bill has been characterized as a reactionary measure to address the state's massive budget crisis and to pay off its debts, but it has also seen criticism from those who question the impact that legalizing pot would have on children and society. And a bipartisan group of former heads of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and a handful of other organizations are attacking it on other grounds: Citing the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, they say the U.S. Department of Justice should sue the state for the same reasons that President Obama filed suit to repeal the immigration bill passed by the state of Arizona. "The [Controlled Substances Act] itself clearly states that federal law preempts state law when there is a positive conflict with the established federal law," the groups wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. “We would expect the Department of Justice to act just as swiftly and for the same reason … to prevent Proposition 19 from becoming law.” Thomas Jefferson Street blogger Chris Battle is not optimistic the DOJ will heed the call. He says the Supremacy Clause is only pushed by the administration "when it suits its political perspective." [Read more about immigration reform.]
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