Drug czar ducks on Calif. pot measure

The Obama administration's top drug enforcement official sidestepped a question Thursday on how the federal government would react if California voters legalize pot this fall.

Drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said he wouldn't speculate on what the Obama administration would do if California voters approve a ballot initiative that would make marijuana legal for consumption but subject it to regulation.

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"Since it hasn't passed, right now it would be improper to speculate on what the federal government's role is," Kerlikowske said during an appearance on ABC's "Top Line" webcast.

A ballot initiative to legalize the drug appears set for a Nov. 2 vote after organizers submitted many more signatures than are necessary to put the issue on the ballot.

An April 2009 Field Poll showed 56 percent of of Californians favored the measure to make pot legal for recreational use while taxing the proceeds. The ballot initiative has been sold as a way to close the state's large budget gap.

The state already allows for the medicinal use of marijuana, and the Obama administration from its inception said it would not enforce federal laws against states that legalize pot for therapeutic purposes.

When pressed, Kerlikowske said Thursday that a number of responses, including lawsuits to litigate the differences in state and federal drug laws, could spring up if California voters legalize marijuana.

"You can envision a lot of different things," he said.