Nebraska and Oklahoma have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to let them file suit against Colorado, challenging that State’s legalization of marijuana. Colorado’s neighbors contend, among other things, that the state’s marijuana legalization program violates the federal Controlled Substances Act, which makes the cultivation, trafficking and possession of marijuana unlawful and that federal law is controlling under the U.S. Constitution. Nebraska and Oklahoma invoked a rarely used constitutional provision giving the High Court original jurisdiction over suits between states. They seek a declaration that the Colorado legalization program is unconstitutional.
The case was filed by Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. In announcing the suit, Bruning said, “Federal law independently prohibits the production and sale of marijuana. Colorado has undermined the United States Constitution, and I hope the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold on constitutional principles.” He asserted further that Congress has enforced the principle that drugs “threaten the health and safety of our children and the trafficking of drugs is a national, interstate problem.” Trafficking in neighboring states, the action contends, unnecessarily burdens states such as Nebraska, especially their criminal justice system.
Colorado’s Attorney General has stated that he intends to fight the suit.
The suit is likely to be a focus of controversy in the debate over legalization of marijuana.