By a 6-2 majority, the Supreme Court has declined to hear a suit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado. Two conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, said they would have heard the case.
Legal proceedings began after Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2014. Nebraska and Oklahoma cited the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), saying that marijuana can’t be
regulated at the state level. Additionally, the two states claimed that marijuana purchased in Colorado and brought over state lines was a burden on law enforcement and their criminal justice systems, as well as a danger to the health and safety of children.
“This was a meritless lawsuit, and the court made the right decision,” Mason Tvert of the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project said. “States have every right to regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana, just as Nebraska and Oklahoma have the right to maintain their failed prohibition policies. Colorado has done more to control marijuana than just about any other state in the nation.”
Randy Barnett, an attorney who litigated a Supreme Court case exploring the limits of the CSA, claimed that, “Congress has no power to compel states to prohibit the cultivation, possession and transfer of marijuana. In the absence of such state prohibition, all such activities are completely legal under state law, notwithstanding that they are illegal under federal law,” he wrote last year.
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