Colorado’s neighbors are not happy about marijuana legalization.
The attorneys general of Oklahoma and Nebraska filed a lawsuit on Thursday with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that Colorado’s commercialized marijuana system violates the constitution.
“Oklahoma and states surrounding Colorado are being impacted by Colorado’s decision to legalize and promote the commercialization of marijuana which has injured Oklahoma’s ability to enforce our state’s policies against marijuana,” Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a statement on Thursday, referring to Colorado’s Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana in that state.
In the lawsuit, the states argue that Colorado’s law violates the supremacy clause of the Constitution, which states that federal laws takes precedence over state law.
“In passing and enforcing Amendment 64, the State of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system enacted by the United States Congress,” they write in the suit. “Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining Plaintiff States’ own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems.”
Law enforcement along Colorado’s border have long voiced concerns over the impact that legalization will have for them, as The Post reported in July:
[I]n Scotts Bluff County, Neb., Sheriff Mark Overman says Colorado is exporting trouble to its neighbors. “They’re promoting marijuana tourism,” he said. “The message is: Come to Colorado, smoke the marijuana. Then people bring some home. We don’t go after it — we don’t have anybody sitting on the border — but this Colorado marijuana is very potent, very aromatic, and we often trip over it if somebody’s speeding and we pull them over.”
In a statement, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers vowed to defend the state’s law.
“Because neighboring states have expressed concern about Colorado-grown marijuana coming into their states, we are not entirely surprised by this action,” he said. “However, it appears the plaintiffs’ primary grievance stems from non-enforcement of federal laws regarding marijuana, as opposed to choices made by the voters of Colorado. We believe this suit is without merit and we will vigorously defend against it in the U.S. Supreme Court.”