In what could become a landmark decision in the evolution of marijuana law in the U.S., the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) denied an attempt to sue Colorado over its cannabis laws. The lawsuit in question was first filed more than a year ago by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma. And today, after several delays, the Supreme Court finally said it would not hear the lawsuit.
Supreme Court Rejects Lawsuit
SCOTUS voted 6-2 against the attempted suit. Nebraska and Oklahoma both claimed that Colorado’s legalization of medical and recreational marijuana had created problems for them.
The two states have said that too much marijuana is coming out of Colorado and into their states. As a result, they say they’ve had to devote too many resources to enforce their drug laws.
Nebraska and Oklahoma took their suit straight to the Supreme Court. But they weren’t trying to force Colorado to make marijuana use illegal again.
Instead, they were trying to get the Supreme Court to crack down on laws that make it legal to grow and sell marijuana in Colorado.
Many saw the attempted lawsuit as an important moment in the ongoing development of marijuana law. If the Supreme Court let the lawsuit stand, it could have been a blow to states’ attempts to legalize cannabis.
But the Court’s decision today could signal a significant shift in the way the federal court views marijuana laws.
“There’s no question about it: This is good news for legalization supporters,” said activist Tom Angell, who is chairperson of Marijuana Majority.
“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.”
Another critical moment in the extended debate about this lawsuit came last December when President Obama urged the Court to side with Colorado by rejecting the lawsuit. Although the Supreme Court has denied the lawsuit, law experts said Nebraska and Oklahoma could still try to take the case to a federal district court.