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If Marijuana is Legalized, the Federal Government May Sue California

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The movement to legalize marijuana in California via Prop 19 is worrying the federal government. Last week they, along with L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, vowed to enforce federal drug laws, even the November 2nd ballot measure passes. And today, the Associated Press has learned thatthe Obama Administration will sue.

"People don't want to see someone jump in from Washington and tell them how to vote," the federal "drug czar" Gil Kerlikowske told them. "But I think it's also important the people of California get the facts, and the way this proposition is being sold doesn't hold up to scrutiny."

Kerlikowske said California has a higher percentage of children being treated for marijuana use than anywhere else in the U.S. Nearly half of those being treated for the drug are under 18 and liberal attitudes towards pot are a factor.

Others, however, think the federal government has no basis to sue. "If the federal government goes into court to stop Proposition 19 based on pre-emption under the Supremacy Clause, the federal government will lose," Allen Hopper, former director of the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project, told the AP. "The federal government cannot force California to leave state marijuana laws on the books, or force California to use state law enforcement personnel and resources to help enforce federal marijuana prohibition. This is a fundamental tenet of our federalist system of government."

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Kerlikowske today is in Pasadena to visit a drug treatment center and met with Dr. Drew Pinsky.

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