Nebraska and Oklahoma have filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to strike down Colorado’s recent decision to legalize recreational marijuana, The Denver Post reports.
The argument? Both states allege that marijuana from Colorado is spilling over into neighboring states, placing a massive stress on enforcement resources. But the legal argument focuses more narrowly on trying to demonstrate how Colorado’s Amendment 64 violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Since the federal government has authority to regulate interstate commerce, the argument is that states may not establish policy which interferes with or frustrates federal policy against possession or distribution of marijuana.
The Omaha World-Herald recorded a statement from Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning at a press conference on Thursday, where Bruning reiterated that he is “adamantly against the spread of marijuana across our country.”
Marijuana-related arrests have increased in Nebraska on the Interstate 80 following the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. In Oklahoma, law enforcement has had to dedicate additional resources to fighting the drug entering its northwest borders.
“Federal law undisputedly prohibits the production and sale of marijuana,” Bruning added, further expressing disappointment that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is hampering enforcement of current legislation which states that marijuana still counts as a Schedule I drug. Bruning is coordinately closely with Attorney General-elect Doug Peterson, who will take Bruning’s place next month. Marijuana remains illegal in the six states bordering Colorado, although only two states have joined in on the suit.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers isn’t giving the suit any credence, although he admits that he saw it coming.
“Because neighboring states have expressed concern about Colorado-grown marijuana coming into their states, we are not entirely surprised by this action,” Suthers said in a statement. “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.”
“It’s unfortunate the state of Nebraska is trying to dictate the laws here in Colorado,” Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project said.
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