Weed smokers all over the United States rejoiced when Colorado voted to fully legalize recreational marijuana in 2012 – but there are always going to be a few party poopers who just weren’t on board and in this case it was Colorado’s neighboring states of Oklahoma and Nebraska.
In December of 2014 these two states filed a lawsuit against the state of Colorado claiming that the legalization of marijuana in Colorado was “placing stress on their criminal justice system”. To me, this means that they feared people smuggling marijuana from a legal state to a non-legal state and then those states are left to take care of it.
To try and claim that one state’s decision impacts your own state in negative ways is completely ridiculous. The idea that they could force Colorado into repealing the laws is even more insane.
In May of this year (2015) the United States Supreme Court asked for the U.S. Solicitor General’s opinion on the matter. Not surprising to most, the U.S. Solicitor General had asked the Supreme Court to rule in favor of Colorado.
A statement from Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority on the subject explains likely why the U.S. Solicitor General gave that opinion:
“This is the right move by the Obama administration. Colorado and a growing number of states have decided to move away from decades of failed prohibition laws, and so far things seem to be working out as planned. Legalization generates tax revenue, creates jobs and takes the market out of the hands of drug cartels and gangs. New federal data released this week shows that as more legalization laws come online, we’re not seeing an increase in teen marijuana use, despite our opponents’ scare tactics. The Justice Department is correct here: This lawsuit is without merit and should be dismissed.”
This isn’t the first time that the federal government has expressed the need to let states make these decisions about legalizing marijuana. Earlier this year the House of Representatives made it clear that the Department of Justice needed to leave states alone to determine what is right for them on this matter.
Further, here’s a little more on why the Department of Justice dropped the case:
“The motion for leave to file a bill of complaint should be denied because this is not an appropriate case for the exercise of this Court’s original jurisdiction. Entertaining the type of dispute at issue here — essentially that one State’s laws make it more likely that third parties will violate federal and state law in another State — would represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of this Court’s original jurisdiction.”
Personally, I think this was a ridiculous claim made by neighboring states and a few more years down the line I bet we see some sort of movement with marijuana reform in those states as well.