Nebraska and Oklahoma Sue Colorado over Pot Law

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on December 19, 2014.

In a major jolt to pro-marijuana initiatives in the United States, two heartland states Nebraska and Oklahoma have filed lawsuits against Colorado, saying its rising number of recreational marijuana shops are leading to illegal export of pot to neighboring states. They have sought the closure of marijuana shops in Colorado with immediate effect.

The lawsuit was brought by attorneys general in Nebraska and Oklahoma. They have urged the United States Supreme Court to strike down important parts of the 2012 measure that allowed Colorado to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, some states such as Colorado and Washington state have allowed its recreational use. Alaska, Oregon and District of Columbia have recently approved initiatives for the same.

For the last few months, security personnel and law enforcement agencies in various counties bordering Colorado, have complained about the marijuana influx into their towns. They argued that the number has been on the rise since January 2014 when the recreational sale of pot began in Colorado. Oklahoma and Nebraska claimed that they have witnessed more arrests and legal battles because of the influx in the recent months. They also complained that the law enforcement agencies are spending more time, energy and funds to deal with marijuana-related issues even though their states are not to be blamed for the mess.

The new court challenge is aimed at discouraging the commercial side of marijuana legalization, which created new tax regulations as well as recreational stores and production facilities in Colorado. But, the marijuana advocates are not impressed. They see it as a bad move, which could boost the black market further. "If Nebraska and Oklahoma succeed, they will put the violent criminal organizations back in charge,” Michael Elliott, the executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a Colorado-based trade group, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has rejected the arguments of Nebraska and Oklahoma, saying, “Because neighboring states have expressed concern about Colorado-grown marijuana coming into their states, we are not entirely surprised by this action. 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.”

comments powered by Disqus