October 21, 2019

October 21, 2019

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Supreme Court Asked To Decide Whether Colorado’s Marijuana Legalization Violates Constitution

Nebraska and Oklahoma have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to let them file suit against Colorado, challenging that State’s legalization of marijuana.  Colorado’s neighbors contend, among other things, that the state’s marijuana legalization program violates the federal Controlled Substances Act, which makes the cultivation, trafficking and possession of marijuana unlawful and that federal law is controlling under the U.S. Constitution.  Nebraska and Oklahoma invoked a rarely used constitutional provision giving the High Court original jurisdiction over suits between states.  They seek a declaration that the Colorado legalization program is unconstitutional.

The case was filed by Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.  In announcing the suit, Bruning said, “Federal law independently prohibits the production and sale of marijuana.  Colorado has undermined the United States Constitution, and I hope the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold on constitutional principles.”  He asserted further that Congress has enforced the principle that drugs “threaten the health and safety of our children and the trafficking of drugs is a national, interstate problem.”  Trafficking in neighboring states, the action contends, unnecessarily burdens states such as Nebraska, especially their criminal justice system.

Colorado’s Attorney General has stated that he intends to fight the suit.

The suit is likely to be a focus of controversy in the debate over legalization of marijuana.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019


About this Author

Roger Kaplan employee drug testing attorney, Jackson Lewis Law Firm

Roger S. Kaplan is a Principal in the Long Island, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has worked with many employers to help assure their drug and abuse testing policies and procedures comply with the state and federal laws and to develop effective testing strategies. He has frequently addressed business and professional groups on substance abuse testing issues.

Mr. Kaplan has represented clients and appeared before executive departments and administrative agencies, such as the United States Department of Labor (...