Legalization advocates criticize ex-DEA chiefs

MICHAEL TARM Associated Press Published:

CHICAGO (AP) -- A national group advocating less-stringent drugs laws is criticizing eight former Drug Enforcement Administration chiefs for their call to nullify new laws in Colorado and Washington legalizing recreational marijuana use.

The New York-based Drug Policy Alliance said in a statement Tuesday that the former administrators have a vested interest in defending policies they promoted for decades but that many Americans are now rejecting.

The group's executive director, Ethan Nadelmann, says the ex-officials face the same legacy as agents who enforced alcohol prohibition in the 1920s and early 1930s. It was eventually viewed as a failure and reversed.

The ex-DEA chiefs say federal law banning marijuana use has supremacy over state laws. They've urged the Obama administration to try to nullify the Washington and Colorado laws.