The federal government will continue to enforce federal marijuana laws in California even if the state legalizes pot through a ballot initiative next month, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a letter obtained Friday by CNN.
Holder said the Justice Department would continue to "vigorously enforce" the federal Controlled Substances Act "against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture, or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law," in a letter to former administrators of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
"Regardless of the passage of this or similar legislation, the Department of Justice will remain firmly committed to enforcing the Controlled Substances ACT ("CSA") in all states," said the letter, dated Wednesday.
California's Proposition 19, which will appear on next month's ballot, would legalize recreational marijuana use in the state. Supporters say it would raise revenue and cut the costs of enforcement.