Just when we thought marijuana legalization is an unstoppable force, along comes marijuana haters trying to destroy it.
The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma recently filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court, trying to get Colorado marijuana legalization declared unconstitutional.
“Federal law undisputedly prohibits production and sale of marijuana,” Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning explains. “Colorado has undermined the United States Constitution, and I hope the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold our constitutional principles.”
Colorado is surrounded by conservative states: Utah, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Wyoming.
Anti-marijuana politicians, crusaders, and police in those states say Colorado marijuana legalization guarantees that more marijuana will flow into adjoining states.
And maybe some Colorado cannabis is making its way into those prohibitionist states—because people want marijuana!
Not only that, but all of us in the marijuana community need to be aware of major, relentless police anti-marijuana interdiction checkpoints on Interstates 70, 76, 80, 26, and 40.
Federal and local law enforcement are trying their hardest to interdict marijuana, whether it’s coming from Colorado or not.
Please read this article about police marijuana interdiction on the highways.
Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt claim that the U.S. Constitution’s “Supremacy Clause” makes Colorado marijuana legalization unconstitutional because marijuana is illegal under federal law.
The Supremacy Clause has been used before to void state marijuana legalization laws.
The scary thing is, that technically Pruitt and Bruning are probably correct. The Controlled Substances Act makes cannabis totally illegal in all 50 states.
Pruitt and Bruning claim Colorado marijuana is being exported to Nebraska and Oklahoma, and that this harms Oklahoma and Nebraska.
Ironically, marijuana is the safest intoxicant and medicine on the planet, and it’s helping residents of Oklahoma and Nebraska way more than it’s hurting them.
What really harms Nebraskans and Oklahomans is living in Nebraska and Oklahoma—not marijuana.
Nebraska has serious problems with pollution, bad schools, and other societal negatives. It has at least a third more rapes per capita than the national average.
Oklahoma is being fracked to death, with groundwater pollution, earthquakes, air pollution and other damages associated with fracking.
Oklahoma outranks the U.S. national average for crime rate per capita in murders, rapes, assaults, thefts, and its rape rate is nearly twice the national average.
The war against marijuana in Nebraska and Oklahoma is also very harmful.
Any amount of marijuana can result in at least a year in prison in Oklahoma, and many marijuana “crimes” in Oklahoma and Nebraska are punishable by long prison sentences, including life in prison.
The cost to taxpayers of paying for drug war efforts and incarcerations in those states is in the millions of dollars per year.
The Colorado marijuana legalization lawsuits filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma will cost taxpayers, and will also cost taxpayers in Colorado, because Colorado attorneys will have to argue the case in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Beyond that, the sad reality is until marijuana is legalized federally, no state legalization laws give us the permanent protection the cannabis community needs.
The vast majority of Americans favor marijuana legalization, but backwards places like Nebraska and Oklahoma, along with the Supreme Court, might be able to thwart the majority’s wishes.
If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Nebraska and Oklahoma, and if Congress and the president order the Department of Justice to again vigorously enforce marijuana prohibition, it won’t matter that 23 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) have legalized marijuana for medical purposes and that four states and D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana.
As a resident of Colorado who grows marijuana and worked hard to get my fellow voters to legalize it here, I’m really angry that rednecks in Oklahoma and Nebraska are trying to mess with us.
Instead of fighting marijuana legalization, Nebraska and Oklahoma should embrace it. It would make living in those flat, dead, polluted places a lot more fun if people could legally use cannabis.
UPDATE: In March, 2016, the United States Supreme Court ruled against the Nebraska and Oklahoma lawsuits.
Colorado marijuana legalization is safe… for now.