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Supreme Court Chooses to Not Challenge CO’s Marijuana Laws

Marijuana Supreme Court

Nebraska and Oklahoma recently filed suit in the Supreme Court against Colorado. But the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case.  This case was filed with the Supreme Court because it has the right to hear cases between states, according to The New York Times.

Nebraska and Oklahoma challenge that a bordering state, such as Colorado, with legalized recreational marijuana would make the drug more accessible near state lines, creating a spillover effect in regards to resident health, accessibility and criminal activity. Neither state raised a fuss in 2012 when Colorado passed recreational marijuana legalization.

A statement by these two states to the court reads: “The State of Colorado authorizes, oversees, protects and profits from a sprawling $100-million-per-month marijuana growing, processing and retailing organization that exported thousands of pounds of marijuana to some 36 states in 2014. If this entity were based south of our border, the federal government would prosecute it as a drug cartel.”

Colorado’s defense brief included the statement: “Nebraska and Oklahoma concede that Colorado has power to legalize the cultivation and use of marijuana – a substance that for decades has seen enormous demand and has, until recently, been supplied exclusively through a multi-billion-dollar black market. Yet, the plaintiff states seek to strike down the laws and regulations that are designed to channel demand away from this black market into a licensed and closely monitored retail system.”

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. offered the following statement: “Nebraska and Oklahoma essentially contend that Colorado’s authorization of licensed intrastate marijuana production and distribution increases the likelihood that third parties will commit criminal offenses in Nebraska and Oklahoma by bringing marijuana purchased from licensed entities in Colorado into these states. But, they do not allege that Colorado has directed or authorized any individual to transport marijuana into their territories in violation of their laws.”

No explanation was given by the Supreme Court for their declination of the suit. Arguments continue surrounding the uniqueness of the case requiring the court to hear the arguments. Nebraska and Oklahoma are free to take their case to another court, such as a federal trial court, if they wish to continue to press the issue.