Inside Politics: Ex-DEA chief urges AG to speak out on marijuana

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Officials in the law enforcement community opposed to legalizing marijuana are urging Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to speak out before Election Day against three state ballot initiatives that would do just that.

In response, Justice Department spokeswoman Allison Price said the department would not speculate about the outcome of the various ballot initiatives in each of the states — Colorado, Washington and Oregon.

Peter Bensinger, a former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, told reporters that it is important for the public to know the dangers of legalizing marijuana and for the Justice Department to address the issue now.

Among the participants at the news conference were former directors of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Federal law prohibits production, possession and sale of marijuana.

HOUSE

Democrats pan legal spending to defend marriage act

The House’s top two Democrats are criticizing Republicans for spending nearly $1.5 million over the past 15 months on outside attorneys to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland say House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio is wasting taxpayer money in defending the 1996 law.

The legislation, signed by President Clinton, denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages and affirms the right of states to refuse to recognize such marriages. President Obama announced last year that the Justice Department no longer would defend the constitutionality of the law. After that, Mr. Boehner convened the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend it. Several federal courts this year have ruled against the law.

FLORIDA

No quick appeals review of state’s voter purge case

MIAMI — The legal fight over Florida’s plan to purge almost 200 voters from the rolls because they aren’t citizens will have to wait until after the election.

Two Florida federal judges had ruled that the planned purge of 198 people could go forward despite claims it violates a federal law against removing voters within 90 days of an election. The judges decided that the 90-day rule doesn’t apply to noncitizens.

A challenge to their ruling was made to 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That court decided Tuesday that it would not review the challenge before the Nov. 6 election.

OHIO

High court rebuffs GOP, won’t block early voting

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