The federal government pleaded that the United States Supreme Court does not make them intervene in the lawsuit Oklahoma and Nebraska are leading referencing Colorado’s legal cannabis system. According to Oklahoma and Nebraska, the system in Colorado has created a flood of criminals who cross back into other states where it is illegal. As a result, Oklahoma and Nebraska sued Colorado, pleading that the Supreme Court blocks Colorado’s legal cannabis system. Colorado replied by telling the Supreme Court to throw the case out, and when the Supreme Court asked for the federal government’s help, they refused.
“Entertaining the type of dispute at issue here — essentially that one state’s laws make it more likely that third parties will violate federal and state law in another state — would represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of this court’s original jurisdiction,” Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. responded.
Verrilli stated that the Supreme Court usually has tried not to resolve disputes between states unless the states as a whole are at odds. Oklahoma and Nebraska sued Colorado over the decisions of private citizens who are going against the law. Colorado’s legal cannabis system allows people in the state to cultivate, possess, and consume marijuana, however, leaving Colorado with the drug is still illegal. Also, marijuana is still entirely illegal on the federal level. Oklahoma and Nebraska both say that Colorado’s system does not comply with federal interstate commerce laws and the Controlled Substances Act.
“Nebraska and Oklahoma essentially contend that Colorado’s authorization of licensed intrastate marijuana production and distribution increase the likelihood that third parties will commit criminal offenses in Nebraska and Oklahoma by bringing marijuana purchased from licensed entities in Colorado into those states,” wrote Verrelli. “But they do not allege that Colorado has directed or authorized any individual to transport marijuana into their territories in violation of their laws. Nor would any such allegation be plausible.”
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