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Holder warning on Calif. pot prop debated

Holder warning on Calif. pot prop debated
Attorney General Eric Holder participates in a ground breaking on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Museum in Washington on October 14, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo

SACRAMENTO, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Proponents of marijuana legalization in California are brushing off Washington's warning that pot smokers won't be immune from federal drug laws.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated this week that regardless of whether California's Proposition 19 passes in November, federal laws on marijuana will remain in effect.

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The warning wasn't seen by Prop 19 backers as anything that could dissuade voters next month.

"Bring on the establishment," Chris Lehane, a consultant to the Prop 19 campaign, told The New York Times. "This campaign, and the energy driving it, is predicated on the common understanding that the establishment's prohibition approach has been a complete and utter failure."

The Times said Saturday Holder is the latest prominent name added to the list of Prop 19 opponents, which includes police organizations, newspapers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who last month signed a bill lowering the state penalty for possession to a $100 ticket.

Opponents say Holder's announcement does hold weight with voters. Political consultant Roger Salazar, who works for the "No on 19" camp, called it "a shot across the bow from the federal government."

"They're saying that, 'If this thing moves the way we think it is, we're going to come after you guys,'" Salazar told The Times. "That gives California voters one more reason to take a deep breath."

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