Supreme Court asks Justice Department to weigh in on legal marijuana lawsuit

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Supreme Court asks Justice Department to weigh in on legal marijuana lawsuit

Post by LemonTree on Tue May 05, 2015 10:54 pm

On Monday morning, the United States Supreme Court asked the Solicitor General’s office
for its opinion in a lawsuit involving three states about the commercial sales of marijuana
for recreational use in Colorado.

Among the Court’s orders today was a CVSG (or call for the view of the Solicitor General)
in the case of Nebraska and Oklahoma v. Colorado.

The lawsuit was brought by the state of Nebraska and Oklahoma last December, when their
attorneys general asked the Supreme Court to rule on the legality of the Colorado’s legalized
marijuana law, in an original jurisdiction case.

The two states said the Supreme Court was the only venue where they could seek relief
under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, arguing that “the federal government has
preeminent authority to regulate interstate and foreign commerce, including commerce
involving legal and illegal trafficking in drugs such as marijuana.”

Nebraska and Oklahoma aren’t asking that Colorado now stop personal marijuana use or to
go back to its previous laws that prosecuted marijuana use as a crime in the state. Instead,
the two states wants Colorado’s plan disallowed by the Supreme Court that allows for commercial
growing and distribution of marijuana with the state.

Colorado has asked the Supreme Court to ignore the suit as unrealistic.

“[Nebraska and Oklahoma] suggest that the federal government will backfill the resulting regulatory
vacuum, even though the Presidential Administration has indicated it lacks the resources and the
inclination to fully enforce the federal marijuana ban; Congress has partially endorsed the
Administration’s non-enforcement policy; and the States have, for the last four decades,
carried out the vast majority of marijuana enforcement across the country,” said Colorado
Attorney General Cynthia Coffman in March.

Four states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to make recreational pot use legal
under certain circumstances. And 23 states and the federal district have legalized marijuana
for medical use.

Colorado’s law was approved in a voter referendum in November 2012.

However, recreational and medical marijuana use is still illegal nationally under the Controlled
Substances Act and it is listed under the Schedule 1 list of drugs, along with heroin and LSD.

The conflict between state laws that allow limited marijuana use and the federal law that bars
it, in theory, falls somewhere in the domain of the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.

The Court typically takes its time with original jurisdiction cases and at least four Justices
will need to vote to accept the case for arguments, once the Solicitor General’s opinion is filed.


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