Nebraska and Oklahoma file lawsuit challenging Colorado's legalization of marijuana

LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska and Oklahoma are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to declare Colorado's legalization of marijuana unconstitutional.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning announced Thursday that the states are seeking a court order to prevent Colorado from enforcing a measure that was approved by voters in 2012. Bruning says Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is also a party to the lawsuit.

"Federal law undisputedly prohibits the production and sale of marijuana," said Bruning. "Colorado has undermined the United States Constitution, and I hope the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold our constitutional principles."

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Pruitt issued the following statement:

"Fundamentally, Oklahoma and states surrounding Colorado are being impacted by Colorado's decision to legalize and promote the commercialization of marijuana which has injured Oklahoma's ability to enforce our state's policies against marijuana. Federal law classifies marijuana as an illegal drug. The health and safety risks posed by marijuana, especially to children and teens, are well documented. The illegal products being distributed in Colorado are being trafficked across state lines thereby injuring neighboring states like Oklahoma and Nebraska. As the state's chief legal officer, the attorney general's office is taking this step to protect the health and safety of Oklahomans."

The complaint alleges that Colorado's Amendment 64 runs afoul of federal law.

Washington state also has legalized marijuana, but Bruning says Nebraska isn't suing over that law because it doesn't share a border with Washington.

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Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said in a statement that the lawsuit is without merit. 

He added:

"Because neighboring states have expressed concern about Colorado-grown marijuana coming into their states, we are not entirely surprised by this action. However, it appears the plaintiffs' primary grievance stems from non-enforcement of federal laws regarding marijuana, as opposed to choices made by the voters of Colorado. We believe this suit is without merit and we will vigorously defend against it in the U.S. Supreme Court." 

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