On Monday, March 21, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado that asked the Supreme Court to enforce the supremacy of federal law as a means of halting the legal marijuana market in Colorado.
The Obama administration had previously urged the Supreme Court not to take up the case. While the majority ruled, with six justices rejecting the lawsuit, “Two conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, said they would have heard the case,” as reported by Reuters.
According to Tom Angell, a marijuana policy reform activist, “There’s no question about it: This is good news for legalization supporters. This case, if it went forward and the Court ruled the wrong way, had the potential to roll back many of the gains our movement has achieved to date. And the notion of the Supreme Court standing in the way could have cast a dark shadow on the marijuana ballot measures voters will consider this November. But the justices correctly decided that this lawsuit is without merit and that states should be able to move forward with implementing voter-approved legalization laws even if their neighbors don’t like it.”
Angell added, “At the end of the day, if officials in Nebraska and Oklahoma are upset about how much time and resources their police are spending on marijuana cases, as they said in their briefs, they should join Colorado in replacing prohibition with legalization. That will allow their criminal justice systems to focus on real crime, and it will generate revenue that can be used to pay for healthcare, education and public safety programs.”