Two heartland states filed the first major court challenge to marijuana legalization on Thursday, saying that Colorado’s growing array of state-regulated recreational marijuana shops was piping marijuana into neighboring states and should be shut down.
The lawsuit was brought by attorneys general in Nebraska and Oklahoma, and asks the United States Supreme Court to strike down key parts of a 2012 voter-approved measure that legalized marijuana in Colorado for adult use and created a new system of stores, taxes and regulations surrounding retail marijuana.
While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, officials have largely allowed Colorado and other states to move ahead with state-run programs allowing medical and recreational marijuana. But the lawsuit from Nebraska and Oklahoma, where marijuana is still outlawed, argues that Colorado has “created a dangerous gap” in the federal drug-control system.
“Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states,” the suit says, undermining their marijuana bans, “draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems.”
For months, some sheriffs and police officers in rural counties bordering Colorado have complained that they have seen more marijuana entering their towns and being transported down their highways since recreational sales began in January. Oklahoma and Nebraska said the influx had led to more arrests, more impounded vehicles and higher jail and court costs. They say it has also forced law-enforcement agencies to spend more time and dedicate more resources to handling marijuana-related arrests.
– Read the entire article at The New York Times.