Nebraska and Oklahoma recently filed the first major court challenge to Colorado’s marijuana legalization, claiming that the state’s legal recreational marijuana shops are encouraging use in neighboring states. The lawsuit, filed Thursday, challenges the 2012 passing of Colorado’s Amendment 64.
According to The New York Times, “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.” The Colorado Pot Guide explains that it isn’t necessary to be a resident to procure up to one ounce of marijuana in Colorado; all that is required is a government-issued identification card to prove one’s age. “Simply put, as long as you are 21 years or older, you have a constitutional right in Colorado to possess and consume marijuana,” explains the Pot Guide.
According to NPR, “officials in Nebraska and Oklahoma say Colorado’s pot law has become a destabilizing force in their states, where their legal systems are struggling to enforce the federal ban on marijuana.” The attorneys general in those states argue that Colorado is not doing enough to keep marijuana from leaving the state, which is putting pressure on bordering Nebraska and Oklahoma. “Marijuana flows from this gap [in the federal drug-control system] into neighboring states, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems,” the lawsuit reads in part.
For many, especially marijuana advocates in Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska are on the wrong side of history. Some speculate that it’s only a matter of time before more states begin legalizing recreational marijuana use, and that these two heartland states are grasping at straws.
Read The New York Times’ in-depth report of the lawsuit here.