Colorado faces Heat over Recreational Marijuana Law

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on March 07, 2015.

Six Colorado county sheriffs have sued Governor John Hickenlooper over the state's recreational marijuana law. Law enforcement officials from Kansas and Nebraska had already filed lawsuits, alleging large number of marijuana influx from Colorado and demanded a ban on these activities. There has been a huge increase in recreational marijuana business in Colorado after it was made legal 14 months ago.

The sheriffs led by Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, filed the lawsuit, arguing that state laws legalizing marijuana require them to violate federal law. The lawsuit further argues that federal law ensures that Colorado cannot allow people to possess or use marijuana for recreational purposes and cannot offer purchase license to the stores. However, it did not challenge Colorado’s medical marijuana laws.

The suit names Governor John Hickenlooper as the lone defendant. Colorado’s attorney general, Cynthia Coffman will fight the case on behalf of the state. Scotts Bluff County, Neb., Sheriff Mark Overman, is also a plaintiff in the suit. Apart from Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, other Sheriffs that support the lawsuit against Colorado, are Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day, Elbert County Sheriff Shayne Heap, Hinsdale County Sheriff Ronald Bruce, Kiowa County Sheriff Casey Sheridan and Delta County Sheriff Frederick McKee.

Earlier, Nebraska and Oklahoma, had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the Amendment 64 passed by Colorado in 2012, which made it legal for people over 21 to possess limited amounts of marijuana and offered licenses to stores to sell marijuana. Even, the Safe Streets Alliance filed two lawsuits earlier this year, opposing recreational marijuana in Colorado. Those lawsuits were filed on behalf of several Colorado residents.

The Sheriffs are facing severe criticism from many in Colorado over the lawsuits. The supporters of marijuana have asked them to focus more on serious crime rather than going all out against recreational pot.

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