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Nebraska, Oklahoma Sue Colorado Over Cannabis Laws

In the most serious challenge yet to Colorado’s cannabis legalization policy, the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma took the unusual move of filing a legal case against it directly with the US Supreme Court. The two states argue that “the State of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system…  Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining Plaintiff States’ own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems.” Lawyers for the Cornhusker State and the Sooner State assert that local authorities have registered a big uptick in cannabis entering their towns since Colorado legalized with the voter-approved Amendment 64 in 2012. The suit also claims Colorado’s legalization policy violates the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said in a statement that he will “vigorously defend” the state’s legalization program, calling the lawsuit “without merit.” Suthers added: “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.”

Stores able to sell up to an ounce of cannabis to any adult with a Colorado ID—or a quarter ounce to any adult with an out-of-state ID—opened on Jan. 1, 2014. Recreational cannabis outlets in the Centennial State have made more than $300 million in sales in 2014.

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