Washington (CNN) - California's proposal to legalize marijuana has provoked every former director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to join in urging the White House to block the proposition if it is approved on the November ballot.
Proposition 19 is billed as a measure to raise revenue and cut the costs of enforcement. An analysis by the California attorney general's office cites "additional revenues from taxes, assessments, and fees from marijuana-related activities allowed under this measure."
But former DEA Administrator Peter Bensinger disputed the premise, telling reporters Monday it will not increase revenue since "anybody that sells marijuana and then pays tax is going to declare themselves a violator of federal law" and subject to prosecution.
Bensinger and the eight other people who have led the DEA since its founding in 1973 wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, urging him to use the federal "supremacy clause" to pre-empt such lawmaking by state and local jurisdictions.