The eight former DEA heads fear that the states’ marijuana laws will instigate a “domino effect”, causing other states to pass their own laws legalizing the recreational use of certain drugs. Since marijuana is illegal under federal law, the former DEA administrators believe Obama should sue states to force them to annul the legislation.
“My fear is that the Justice Department will do what they are doing now: do nothing and say nothing,” Peter Bensinger, a former DEA administrator, told AP.“If they don’t act now, these laws will be fully implemented in a matter of months.”
Colorado and Washington passed a voters’ initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Revenue from the drug sales will go to education, healthcare, research and substance abuse prevention. Marijuana will be sold under a tightly regulated system, similar to that of alcohol. Washington state officials have already created a timetable of distributing marijuana producer licenses by August.
“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said after the November election. “This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.”
The Department of Justice if currently still reviewing the states’ laws, which the former DEA heads hope to influence with a statement to be released Tuesday by the national lobbying group, Save Our Society from Drugs.
US Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to speak before a US Senate judiciary committee hearing on Wednesday, where he will likely be questioned about the extrajudicial killing program. But the former DEA administrators are urging senators to also question him on the legalization of marijuana.