On Monday, the Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma, who had taken action citing Colorado’s marijuana legalization as being unconstitutional. Basically, it’s kind of like Nebraska and Oklahoma are those cranky neighbors who call the cops to complain about the noise coming from your college kegger – come on, is it really that loud?!
Although the state of Colorado has thoroughly been enjoying reaping in the benefits that have come as a result to legalizing pot, like millions of extra dollars to be spent on schools and infrastructure, it turns out, our neighbors are not as jazzed about the decision that was made back in 2014. Both Nebraska and Oklahoma believe that with recreational marijuana being legal in Colorado, it’s made its way across state borders and has negatively impacted their communities. In addition to complicating anti-drug efforts, our neighbors claim that trying to combat the issue has caused them to have to drain state resources. Sheriffs in western Nebraska noted that their departments have been burdened with greater enforcement costs, and also provided statistics displaying marijuana encounters with people under the age of 21 in an 11-county western Nebraska area have doubled over the past five years. The lawsuit was essentially trying to argue that Colorado should not be able to sell a drug that remains banned under federal law. Our neighbors are really warning us to keep off the grass…which, in this case, can be taken in more ways than one.
Fortunately for Coloradans, neither Nebraska nor Oklahoma has the authority to just reach across state lines and change a law they don’t agree with. That being said, a majority of justices on the Supreme Court also sided with Colorado on this one, opting to decline the lawsuit all together. Last year, the U.S. Justice Department’s top courtroom lawyer commented in regards to the case, saying that the claims by Nebraska did not merit Supreme Court consideration. Furthermore, because Colorado’s law actually prohibits legally purchased weed from even leaving the state, court officials are standing behind the idea that any problems in surrounding states were the responsibility of third-party lawbreakers. Some are speculating that this challenge is far from over, and that Nebraska may try to take the fight to federal courts. Interestingly enough though, while lawmakers in Nebraska have not introduced any legislation to legalize recreational weed at this time, they are expected to debate a bill to allow medical use of the drug within the upcoming weeks.