Nine former directors of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sent a letter last week to US Attorney General Eric Holder urging his office to actively oppose several statewide ballot measures that seek to depenalize the personal use and possession of cannabis by adults.
“We urge you to oppose publicly Amendment 64 in Colorado, Initiative 502 in Washington, and Measure 80 in Oregon,” the letter states. “To continue to remain silent conveys to the American public … a tacit acceptance of these dangerous initiatives.” Signatories include every former director of the DEA since the agency’s inception.
Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, Initiative 502, and Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, all seek to amend state law to allow for the limited possession and distribution of cannabis to adults. Both Amendment 64 in Colorado and Initiative 502 in Washington hold solid leads among likely voters. This week, a Survey USA poll of Washington voters showed I-502 ahead by a margin of 57 percent to 34 percent.
The DEA letter did not specifically address separate state initiatives in Arkansas,Massachusetts, and Montana that seek to regulate the physician-recommended use and distribution of cannabis.
Holder’s office previously spoke out in 2010 against Proposition 19 in California after receiving a similar letter from past chiefs of the DEA. That measure sought to allow for the limited possession and cultivation of cannabis for adults. The measure was defeated at the polls by a vote of 46.5 percent to 53.5 percent.