States Ask Supreme Court To Find Colorado’s Marijuana Regulations Unconstitutional

The states of Nebraska and Oklahoma have asked the United States Supreme Court to issue a declaratory judgment finding that Colorado’s laws regulating the state-licensed production and sale of marijuana to adults violates the US Constitution.

The suit, filed today by Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt, alleges that marijuana is being diverted into their states from Colorado, causing plaintiffs to suffer “irreparable injury.”

The Attorney Generals contend in their suit: “Plaintiff States are suffering a direct and significant detrimental impact – namely the diversion of limited manpower and resources to arrest and process suspected and convicted felons involved in the increased illegal marijuana trafficking or transportation.”

They are asking the Supreme Court to strike down Colorado’s law on the basis that it is “fundamentally at odds” with the federal Controlled Substances Act. They allege, “The diversion of marijuana from Colorado contradicts the clear Congressional intent, frustrates the federal interest in eliminating commercial transactions in the interstate controlled-substances market, and is particularly burdensome for neighboring states like Plaintiff States where law enforcement agencies and the citizens have endured the substantial expansion of Colorado marijuana.”

They seek “a declaratory judgment stating that Sections 16(4) and (5) of Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution are preempted by federal law, and therefore unconstitutional and unenforceable under the Supremacy Clause, Article VI of the U.S. Constitution.” The US Attorneys are also asking the State of Colorado “to pay the Plaintiff States’ costs and expenses associated with this legal action, including attorneys’ fees.”

The suit does not ask for the Supreme Court to enjoin any other states’ laws regulating the production or dispensing of cannabis for either social or therapeutic purposes, though it is possible that the Court’s actions may have implications for those laws going forward. To date, four states have approved measures allowing for the regulated production and sale of cannabis to adults. Twenty-three states have approved measures allowing for the use of the plant for therapeutic purposes.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers responded to the suit, stating: “[I]t appears the plaintiffs’ primary grievance stems from non-enforcement of federal laws regarding marijuana, as opposed to choices made by the voters of Colorado. We believe this suit is without merit and we will vigorously defend against it in the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Commenting on the suit, NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup said, “This suit is more political theater than a serious legal challenge. These two conservative state attorneys general know they are losing this fight in the court of public opinion, so they are hoping the Supreme Court will intercede.”

Stroup further noted that in recent days a majority of Congress approved language limiting the ability of the federal government to interfere in the implementation of state-sponsored marijuana regulatory schemes. He added: “The majority of Americans, including 55 percent of Colorado voters who endorsed this policy in 2012, support regulating cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol. The Attorney Generals pushing this lawsuit are not only out-of-step with existing public opinion and emerging political opinion, but they are also clearly on the wrong side of history.”

87 thoughts

  1. Oklahoma and Nebraska–two bright red states. Gee, why am I not surprised. The only thing surprising is that Kansas, Wyoming and Utah haven’t joined in.

  2. Can someone please post links to these attorney general’s facebook and emails so we can message them? This really irritates me and we should let them know that. Hopefully they will lose their jobs with the coming election.

  3. What a wonderful Christmas present these two states have given to the legalization movement! Not only will this not work, it will, at a minimum, solidify cannabis legalization. Maybe even at the fed level. TY Nebraska and Oklahoma for forcing the feds to decide!

  4. I find it incredibly hypocritical that states that shout for states rights and less federal government interference are the ones appealing to the federal government to interfere in what citizens of a particular state decided. There seems to be a severe lack of consistency in the viewpoints’ of some states and their officials.

  5. If those states are threatened by changes external to their borders, what are they going to do when Native American tribes start growing and selling within their borders?

  6. We should be glad to note that the Colorado Attorney General, along with his counterpart in Washington state, stand ready to defend the will of their constituents, a clear sign that the sky is not falling in recreational states. The solution for Oklahoma and Nebraska is to either seek help from federal authorities who are no longer able to tie up their resources in half of the country (therefore now having adequate manpower to assist them), or to hire more K-9 units of their own, either of which will hopefully lead voters in both states to the third and most logical option: follow suit with an amendment of their own legalizing marijuana, so that their own resources can be utilized in a more responsible capacity favoring the very principals of freedom enshrined in the Constitution which the very court they seek relief from is sworn to uphold.

  7. Golly, I sure do appreciate them taking a stand and fighting the good fight to stop the spread of this evil pot legalization movement. Only trouble gunna come of it.

    Just can’t believe congress let the medical weed go without a fight. It’s awful I tell ya. Don’t want the kids getting into it. It’s very dangerous. I am okay with someone of age sipping a bourbon every now and again, pot is no good. Keep that mafia stuff illegal is what I say.

    Shoot, doing the pot make ya stupid and lazy. Everyone knows that. And it’s unconstitutional. People doing this drug should go straight to jail. Colorado and those other states are breaking the federal law and should be ashamed. We need to stop it including medical weed which makes no sense.

  8. Oh,what a surprise.Typical behavior from a bunch of sociopaths that refuse to obey the Constitution.Im sure there that there are darker entities at work behind the surface of what these two attorney goons are trying to dismantle.The reality is, that the sheriffs in these bordering states are having a field day,profiling citizens,fining and looting their property,and doing everything possible to maximize their gains.They should count their blessings that they have ample “interstate prey”,but its never enough for these “power mad’ individuals.THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN.

    Lets play their own game ,and start an amendment for mandatory blood and urine testing for anabolic steroids,including testosterone levels, for our Public Servants.Nothing worse than a roided- out aggressive cop.Any policeman that has 19+inch arms will be profiled and be made to submit for urine testing and blood work,and for Attorneys and Politicians: Mandatory- Psychiatric -Evaluations, to weed out all the grandiose psychopaths that seem to gravitate to these professions like moths to a flame.

    Excluding NORML Attorneys of course.their the good guys:)

  9. I believe the State of Colorado is within its state right to implement laws modifying the use of the Cannibis plant and that everyone in jail for marihuana should be released. Voters in the State of Colorado voted for new laws in their state and this is a good thing for tax revenues.

  10. “(to)Minnesotans, do not imitate Nebraskans” source
    The Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey (now deceased), VP of the United States, Congressman from Minnesota, Mayor of Minneapolis, Pharmacist

    Feature article in the June 1968 (or 1969) issue of Esquire Magazine—> OMAHA IS A BORE

  11. Can this be a good reason to have the government to just listen to the people and legalize marijuana instead of wasting millions in court? I hope so.

  12. Will SCOTUS accept the case? Will they toss it?

    What will happen to 1970’s Controlled Substance Act if SCOTUS uphold Colorado’s law?

    What will voters do in case the law is being struck down?

  13. What i think is the state of oklahoma and nebraska and any other states that act like this, are just jealous, if they put the vote to the people of there states they will find that the majority are for legalization ,,,its time to vote out these old alcoholic,s out of buissness of taking the peoples homes and assets for just a little weed which is alot less harmful than alcohol or tabacco …whats really happening is these states are going broke arresting people and wasting the tax payers money on possesion of weed …its time this b.s. stops the people have spoken ///

  14. “Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt, alleges that marijuana is being diverted into their states from Colorado, causing plaintiffs to suffer “irreparable injury.”

    Are you kidding me? Obviously, these clowns do not represent the will of the people of their own states since there is clearly demand for good product there.

    To claim “irreparable injury” applies to those of us imprisoned by unjust rules; not to your inability to enforce unjust laws that the majority of the people in this world do not support.

    Oh, the stupidity of these people!

  15. @SgtStorm – You could be right about this idiocy helping the legalization cause! They could not possibly be appearing any more foolish than they are now.

    Perhaps President Obama could give us all his thoughts on this subject; hopefully without laughing it off…

    It is because of this kind of outlandish behavior that I do not support letting the States make their own laws regarding marijuana. You would just end up with some states being increasingly Nazi-Like. It needs to be legal nationwide!!! Anything less will result in pockets of deprivation.

  16. It’s gonna be interesting to see what the prohibitionists will through at us.

    When will we know if the Supreme Court decides to include this case in their calendar?

  17. As mentioned several times, the Genie is out of the bottle now and there is no putting it back! The PEOPLE voted this into law and I think they (the opposition) are asking/pushing for big trouble attempting to undo what the majority of the PEOPLE voted for.

  18. OMG, what a joke.. Guess they are jealous of all the legal tax revenue coming in.. Funny how they only mention CO. If they are worried about their borders they should be more concerned about all the illegals and real criminals coming up through the mexican border states.

  19. Oh please with the money we are making , reduced violence countless jobs .
    We Are Never Going to stop !! Rather it be USA cannabis than Mexican dirt swag. Other states need to outlaw alcohol the real problem and legalize freedom!!!!!

  20. It has nothing to do with interstate trafficking: OK and NEB don’t like their customer base going to Colorado to ENJOY themselves every weekend and they could never dream of ceding to the wishes of the public.

  21. What has happened here is, that when a state legalizes pot, it immediately creates a tourist industry. Every weekend citizens of neighboring states leave and go to Colorado to smoke pot–and buy gas, and clothes, and eat, and might take in a movie while they are there, etc. etc. and all that money leaves OK and NE. The same thing occurs when one states approves a lottery: people leave there every weekend to spend money….it’s not about the 1.00 lottery ticket.

    OK and NE are just lying rednecks and trying to cloud the issue by claiming CO infringes INTO their state…what is happening is THEIR citizens are coming TO CO. Even they are not stupid enough not to see what the people WANT…they are just too sorry and narrow-minded to respect it. Those who cannot unlearn what they learned as a child are more disabled by far than those who have trouble learning.

  22. Does this means that a non gay marriage rights state would have the right to sue in federal court those that allow gay marriages?

  23. @Sam- Only. stupid person would make the comment that you made!

    “Damn old people and their stupid views”

  24. I fully expect Arkansas to follow since Asa Hutchinson was elected as governor out there. He was a former Admin for the DEA.
    I pretty much despise him and I expect him to follow this lead as soon as he is seated. Arkansas, you will regret Mr Hutchinson. He will definitely extract your liberties and freedoms using his arrogance of moral authority, you can bet on it.

  25. See what happens when Nebraska and Oklahoma aren’t in the National Championship for football mix? They got nothing else in those states to do with their time than file frivolous lawsuits and waste taxpayer money doing so…LOL!

    Here’s an idea for you Sooners and Huskers. Legalize MJ.

  26. @Odin-I live in the Southeast part of CO and we do see a lot of cars with Oklahoma and Texas plates. A lot on the weekends and even more on holidays. We used to see moving trucks with plates from all over the country but not so much anymore.

  27. Hello Folks,

    “I find it incredibly hypocritical that states that shout for states rights and less federal government interference are the ones appealing to the federal government to interfere in what citizens of a particular state decided. There seems to be a severe lack of consistency in the viewpoints’ of some states and their officials.”

    This is beyond denial, this ‘severe lack of consistency’ strikes me as “Dis-associative”. A kind of delusion.

    And here is more evidence: The commerce clause says the Congress can *regulate* any commodity as they see fit. How does Criminal Prohibition equal “regulations”? They have the power to “regulate”, not ‘perjure themselves while arresting and prosecuting innocence people’!!!

    How in a sane person’s mind is that equal to “regulation”??? It really seems dis-associative.

  28. Colorado could de facto legalize recreational use by selling marijuana stamps to replace the taxes and then pass a law forbidding the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

    NE and OK can’t win this battle if CO stands up to them.

  29. Any time they try to cite the Commerce Clause as justification for Prohibition, it should be a losing argument. It just isn’t logical to say “regulations” can include ‘Using heresy to convict innocent people’. Like including marijuana on Schedule One, when almost no scientists, or anyone that understands the Drug Scheduling System would rank it such, but more likely place it in schedule 4 or 5. You know, “regulate” like the Constitution says.

  30. It is because of this kind of outlandish behavior that I do not support letting the States make their own laws regarding marijuana.

    That is exactly what killed alcohol Prohibition. OK didn’t legalize alcohol until 1959.

  31. Boycott THE HELL out of that red piece of crap Oklahoma and that other red piece of crap Nebraska.

    Get out of my country. Get your square brick head out of Americas way.

  32. Ever see a rich 4 year old when they don’t get They’re way they oughtta regulate how immature and ignorant you can be when you are part of the 1%

  33. I am trying to figure out how many legal distributors I would have to visit in order to amass enough weed to make a killing in OK & NEB; as I understand the Colorado law, purchases are limited in size for residents as well as non residents. Flooding the neighbors seems unlikely by Colorado citizens or visitor buyers. The cartels are the problem in these neighboring states. Legalization would end the problem.

  34. Same thing happened in Limburg province, Netherlands, like Belgians and Germans bitching about their people bringing it back, now there’s ban on selling to non-residents so that you have to drive farther into the country to a different province.

    Nebraska and Oklahoma will loose because you can NOT arrest your way out of legalizing cannabis, the problem as prohibitionists see it. Ain’t enough jails, ain’t enough welfare check money for putting all the potheads out of work just cuz you don’t approve of their lifestyle, namely making a safer choice than alcohol.

    Anyway, so, 23 mayors (and nine more want to) have signed the wietmanifest, weed manifest, in which they want cannabis cultivation seed to sale legalized. So much for limiting things only to residents, too much resistance, too much right on the side of the legalizers. Not enough will, money, and jail cells for all the cannabis consumers prohibitions want to punish for making the safer choice.

    So more states keep legalizing, no one gives a shit about prohibition, and the suit can be tied up in the court system for years while more states legalize MMJ and adult recreational.


    Then they wonder why people bring it back with them. Their only logical option is to legalize, but prohibitionists will exhaust every other option before doing the right thing.

    Can we get some US mayors to sign an American version of the WeedManifest, but let’s call it the CanManifest or something … NOT Cannabanifest (too negative, has word “ban” in it) … “Can” as in yes, we can, able to do, something with a positive spin to it as opposed to the semiotic imagery of weed, a plant being at an unwanted location? US CanManifest

    The only way cannabis will be legal is if you leave the prohibitionists no other choice.

    Go DC!

  35. Regardless of what the Supreme Court says, free people chose whether or not they own their body.

    Slaves do not have that choice.

    Strike the Root cause and the problem will be solved.

  36. It is unconstitutional to have marijuana on the schedule 1 list. Maybe everyone that smokes marijuana should boycott going to Nevada casinos and any casino connected to Nevada. One of those bastard billionaire casino owners spent $5,000,000 to interfere with Florida’s medical marijuana bill passing. I guess a lot of casinos want people. to come in drunk to gamble and lose your money quicker.

  37. Nebraska’s and Oklahoma’s all too successful, cross-border, plate-profiling, flimsy-pretext traffic-stop, pot-hounding “fishing expeditions” are overwhelming their courts, jails and overtime budgets…!!! OH NO!!!

    Gotta feel sorry for them… NOT!!!.
    – – – – –

    OklaBraska’s lawsuit claims that Colorado cannabis legalization is
    “unconstitutional”, (Yet, WHERE in the Constitution does it specify cannabis prohibition??? [i.e, which amendment?], NONE, NADA, NOWHERE!!!).

    If anything, prohibition of botanicals,
    (including cannabis), is itself, unconstitutional…

    Banning alcohol required ratification of the 18th Amendment,
    which was later superseded, rescinded by the 21st.

    OTOH, the “War On” certain proscribed plants was referenced using obscure synonyms, drafted and declared in secret, without citizen input nor approval.

  38. Sure, Cat Cassie. When a neighboring state provides something people want then they will leave their state to get it. Travel means spending–out of state. The home state doesn’t like losing that revenue.

    It’s creepy, really. It’s reminiscent of clashes of beliefs in freedom and anti-freedom that led up to the Kansas-Nebraska Act or something.

  39. I get so offended at every anti-pot law maker. They should be on their knees, begging forgiveness for the harm these bogus laws have inflicted for nearly a century, for the lives they have ruined. They should be paying restitution.

    And yet these two have the audacity to sell out their own state to request federal precedent of power over us all. Just scum. I feel bad for the citizens of those states, as I know the Request for Judgement hardly represents the majority of their wishes.

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