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Supreme Court Denies Case of Nebraska and Oklahoma v. Colorado Legal Marijuana Dispute

by Melanie Marquis

The U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision this morning to not take up the case of Nebraska and Oklahoma v. Colorado, and Colorado is breathing a big sigh of relief. On Monday morning, March 7th. The SCOTUS blog posted the following statement:

“The Court issued orders from its March 4 Conference on Monday. It did not grant any new cases.”

Following a closed door meeting this past Friday, March 4th, the court ultimately sided with the opinion of the Justice Department to deny Oklahoma and Nebraska's suit against Colorado.

The case would have held Colorado responsible for increased crime in Oklahoma and Nebraska that the suing states claimed to be a result of Colorado's legal marijuana.

If the case had come before the Supreme Court and the ruling was in favor of the plaintiffs, the commercial cannabis industry could have been completely crushed. If Oklahoma and Nebraska and Oklahoma had gotten their way, Amendment 64 which made commercial cannabis legal in Colorado would be deemed unconstitutional based on its violation of the constitution's Supremacy Clause. Whenever federal and state laws are in conflict, federal laws take precedent over state laws. Marijuana is illegal under federal law, so technically, Colorado and all other legal weed states are in violation of this rule. To the dismay of Nebraska and Oklahoma, however, not everything is always so cut and dry. The Justice Department itself has urged federal officers to make persecuting non-violent marijuana crimes in legal weed states a low priority, so building a case against Colorado based on its violation of federal drug policy proved a weak angle of focus and thanks to the high court's decision to not take up the case, commercial cannabis consumers, business owners, and industry professional's say its a positive for the marijuana industry.

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