US Supreme Court

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Colorado: Nebraska And Oklahoma's New Tactic To Overturn Marijuana Legalization

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The states of Nebraska and Oklahoma are asking to intervene in an ongoing court case in their newest effort to overturn marijuana legalization in Colorado.

The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a proposed lawsuit brought against Colorado by the two states last month. Earlier this month, Nebraska and Oklahoma responded by asking to be added to a case at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

That case is the consolidation of two separate appeals filed by legalization opponents whose lawsuits were dismissed by a lower court. Nebraska and Oklahoma's motion means that all of the ongoing challenges against Colorado's legalization of marijuana have merged into a single court case.

Since Colorado became the first state in country to allow licensed stores to sell marijuana to anyone over 21 years old, the state has faced a number of lawsuits seeking to overturn the law. None of them have succeeded.

One lawsuit was brought by a group of county sheriffs and another was brought by the owners of a rural property next to a marijuana grow. In both cases, the plaintiffs — backed by national anti-legalization organizations — argued that federal laws criminalizing marijuana should override state law. Federal judges in Colorado dismissed both earlier this year, prompting the appeals, which were later consolidated into a single case.

Washington, DC: Supreme Court May Rule On Colorado Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The US Supreme Court were scheduled to meet today to discuss the case brought against Colorado by Nebraska and Oklahoma over marijuana legalization.

The justices' first determination is whether or not to even consider the case. The lawsuit requests that the Supreme Court overturn Colorado's legal marijuana program.

Their decision is expected early next week. Sam Kamin, a University of Denver professor who specializes in marijuana law, said the justices may not have even gotten around to discussing the case Friday. The case has previously been pushed back twice at conferences.

"We just don't know what's going on behind the scenes," Kamin said.

In the lawsuit, two of Colorado's neighboring states ask the Supreme Court to overturn the state's legal marijuana industry, saying that state-authorized legalization conflicts with federal law, and that marijuana coming across Colorado borders has created a burden.

Colorado officials defended the legality of their marijuana industry, while the Obama administration urged the Supreme Court to not take the case.

Kamin implied that the death of Justice Antonin Scalia could impact the case. Scalia seemed to support the argument in a speech he made in Boulder a couple months before the suit was filed.

"[T]he Constitution contains something called the Supremacy Clause," he said about marijuana, referencing the provision that says federal law tops state law when the two are in direct conflict.

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