U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says his department will prosecute distribution and possession of marijuana in California even if the state's voters approve the ballot measure to legalize the drug.
Holder says the Justice Department strongly opposes Proposition 19. It would make California the first state to legalize and regulate recreational pot use if it passes this November.
Holder says the department remains firmly committed to enforcing the federal controlled substances act in all states. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government has the right to enforce its ban regardless of state law.
The U.S. Attorney General made the comments in a letter to former chiefs of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.