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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a conservative challenge to the marijuana legalization laws adopted in Colorado and elsewhere that permit adults to buy, sell or use one ounce of the drug. By a 6-2 vote, the justices turned away a lawsuit brought by Nebraska and Oklahoma, whose state attorneys complained that illegal marijuana was pouring into their states as a result of Colorado's liberalized laws.

    "The state of Colorado authorizes, oversees, protects and profits from a sprawling $100-million-per-month marijuana growing, processing and retailing organization that exported thousands of pounds of marijuana to some 36 states in 2014," they said. "If this entity were based south of our border, the federal government would prosecute it as a drug cartel."

    They argued that Colorado's law violates the federal Controlled Substances Act, which treats marijuana as a dangerous drug and forbids its sale or use. They urged the Supreme Court to take up the issue as an "original" matter and declare that Colorado's law was preempted by the federal drug laws. Usually, the high court hears appeals from lower-court rulings. But on rare occasions, the justices are called upon to decide disputes between states. Typically, however, these "original" suits involve disagreements over boundaries or the use of river water that flows from one state to another.

    The suit brought by Nebraska and Oklahoma also implicitly challenged the Obama administration for its refusal to intervene more directly in Colorado. Since California's voters in 1996 authorized medical use of marijuana, 22 other states have adopted similar measures. Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska went further and allowed for the production and sale of marijuana for recreational use.

    Supporters of the laws praised the court's decision. "This is good news for legalization supporters," said Tom Angell, chairman 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."

    Faced with this state-by-state rebellion against an unchanging federal drug law, the Justice Department issued guidance telling prosecutors to focus on "significant traffickers of illegal drugs," not on users of medical marijuana. Last year, the justices asked U.S. Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli to weigh in on the interstate legal battle over marijuana, and in December, he urged the court to turn away the lawsuit. Nebraska and Oklahoma have not suffered a "direct injury" from their neighbor to the West, he said, and they remain free to vigorously police marijuana in their states.

    In response, the Nebraska and Oklahoma state attorneys said the Justice Department has "turned its back" on enforcing the federal law and is permitting it to be "dismantled by piecemeal nullification." Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented Monday. "The plaintiff states have alleged significant harms to their sovereign interests caused by another state," Thomas wrote.

    "We should let this complaint proceed further rather than denying leave without so much as a word of explanation."



    By David G. Savage - The LA Times/March 21, 2016
    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-court-marijuana-states-20160321-story.html
    Art: wanelo
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    Beenthere2Hippie
    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.

Comments

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Supreme Court Says No to Challenges to Colorado's Recreational Pot Laws

    [IMGR=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=49528&stc=1&d=1458573923[/IMGR]WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an unusual lawsuit challenging Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana.

    “The State of Colorado authorizes, oversees, protects and profits from a sprawling $100-million-per-month marijuana growing, processing and retailing organization that exported thousands of pounds of marijuana to some 36 states in 2014,” two neighboring states, Nebraska and Oklahoma, told the court. “If this entity were based south of our border, the federal government would prosecute it as a drug cartel.”

    The two states sought to use a rare procedure to attack the law, asking the justices to allow them to file a lawsuit directly in the Supreme Court. The Constitution gives the court such “original jurisdiction” to hear disputes between states, but the court uses it sparingly, most often to adjudicate boundary disputes or water rights.

    In 2012, Colorado voters amended the state’s Constitution to allow recreational use of marijuana and to regulate its sale and distribution. Nebraska and Oklahoma did not challenge the law’s decriminalization of the drug’s possession and use, but said other parts of the law were at odds with federal law and had vast spillover effects, taxing neighboring states’ criminal justice systems and hurting the health of their residents.

    Colorado told the justices that its neighbors were pursuing a curious and counterproductive strategy in the case, Nebraska v. Colorado, No. 144.

    “Nebraska and Oklahoma concede that Colorado has power to legalize the cultivation and use of marijuana — a substance that for decades has seen enormous demand and has, until recently, been supplied exclusively through a multi-billion-dollar black market,” Colorado’s brief said. “Yet the plaintiff states seek to strike down the laws and regulations that are designed to channel demand away from this black market and into a licensed and closely monitored retail system.”

    Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the federal government’s top appellate lawyer, urged the justices to refuse to hear the case.

    “Nebraska and Oklahoma essentially contend,” he wrote, “that Colorado’s authorization of licensed intrastate marijuana production and distribution increases the likelihood that third parties will commit criminal offenses in Nebraska and Oklahoma by bringing marijuana purchased from licensed entities in Colorado into those states. But they do not allege that Colorado has directed or authorized any individual to transport marijuana into their territories in violation of their laws.”

    Both Mr. Verrilli and Colorado officials added that Nebraska and Oklahoma could pursue their objections in a more conventional suit, filed in a federal trial court.

    The Supreme Court did not explain why it declined to hear the case. Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., dissented, saying the court was required to hear it.

    Follow The New York Times’s politics and Washington coverage on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the First Draft politics newsletter.


    By Adam Liptak - The NY Times/March 21, 2016
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/u...allenge-to-colorados-marijuana-laws.html?_r=0
    Art: cbs news
    Newshawk Crew
  2. Beenthere2Hippie
    Re: Colorado's Neighboring States Lose Lawsuit Attempt to Halt the State's Weed Legal

    I cannot begin to say how wonderful a turnaround this is for all of us who are fighting the drug war, in our own way. Anyone with knowledge of this monumental, precedent-setting battle for cannabis (and drug) legalization is celebrating today. The result of this landmark decision gives further credibility to this long, uphill battle for fair cannabis legalization throughout the western world. We, together, have made a positive move forward this Monday.

    Thank you, Supreme Court, and Hooray America.
  3. Beenthere2Hippie
    US Supreme Court Makes Wise Decision, NY Times Editorial Board Suggests

    [IMGL=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=49535&stc=1&d=1458582189[/IMGL]The Supreme Court has sensibly decided not to take a case brought by Nebraska and Oklahoma challenging the way in which Colorado legalized marijuana. The plaintiff states had a weak case backed up with little in the way of evidence.

    Nebraska and Oklahoma had argued that marijuana grown and processed in Colorado was being trafficked into their states and was causing crime and other problems. But the states could not back up their allegations with data. The case was largely based on the states’ apprehension about Colorado’s regulated marijuana market, which its residents authorized through a ballot measure in 2012.

    As it often does, the Supreme Court declined to give a reason for not taking the case. Two justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, issued a dissent, writing that Nebraska and Oklahoma deserved to have their case heard because they “have alleged significant harms to their sovereign interests caused by another State.” The court takes a case if at least four justices say they want to consider it.

    The court was right to reject the case because Nebraska and Oklahoma could not establish that Colorado had directly harmed them, as solicitor general, Donald Verrilli, Jr., argued in a brief on behalf of the Obama administration. Colorado cannot be held responsible for the actions of individuals who decide to take marijuana into other states. The state does take reasonable steps to prevent trafficking and thwart the black market by, for example, limiting purchases of the substance to one ounce at a time.

    Those policies, however, were not good enough for Nebraska and Oklahoma, which made some truly odd and incendiary allegations in their attempt to get the court to take their case. In one of their briefs, the states compared Colorado to a drug cartel, arguing that the federal government would have prosecuted the state if it “were based south of our border.” Such silly statements probably only undermined the appeal of the state’s case to most justices.



    By Vikas Bajaj - The NY Times/March
    http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/21/a-wise-move-on-marijuana-by-the-supreme-court/
    Art: Daily Chronic
    Newshawk Crew
  4. Alfa
    Re: Colorado's Neighboring States Lose Lawsuit Attempt to Halt the State's Weed Legal

    “Yet the plaintiff states seek to strike down the laws and regulations that are designed to channel demand away from this black market and into a licensed and closely monitored retail system.”
    Very nice defense there.

    I hope Nebraska and Oklahoma will start legalizing soon.
  5. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
    Press Release: SCOTUS VOTES 6-2, REJECTS HEARING NE, OK LAWSUIT AGAINST CO MARIJUANA

    Press Release From Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
    Press Release: SCOTUS VOTES 6-2, REJECTS HEARING NE, OK LAWSUIT AGAINST CO MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION LAW



    Mikayla Hellwich
    media@leap.cc
    240.461.3066
    SCOTUS VOTES 6-2, REJECTS HEARING NE, OK LAWSUIT AGAINST CO MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION LAW
    Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to hear a lawsuit Nebraska and Oklahoma brought against Colorado’s marijuana legalization law, a rare case falling under the Court’s original jurisdiction to hear lawsuits between states. In 2012, Colorado voted to legalize marijuana production, sales, and consumption for adults, but Attorneys General in the two neighboring states claimed the law is causing marijuana to spill into their states, creating a law enforcement burden, and that the law is a violation of the Controlled Substances Act. Colorado argued that their law is designed to minimize the illicit market and associated dangers. They also argued that the case is more appropriate for a lower court and that overturning their marijuana law won’t solve the problem outlined by the plaintiffs. SCOTUS didn’t explain the reason for refusing to hear the suit but recommended submitting the case to a federal trial court instead.​
    “If Nebraska and Oklahoma had the good sense to legalize and regulate marijuana too, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. What a monumental waste of time to ask our highest court to solve a problem that could be fixed with a well-written piece of legislation or a ballot initiative,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a criminal justice group working to end the War on Drugs.​
    SCOTUS typically decides on appeals from lower courts, but they occasionally take on disputes between states in “original jurisdiction” suits. These types of suits occur infrequently and generally deal with disagreements over the use of resources, such as rivers, that flow through more than one state. In December 2015, the U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli extended his recommendation to reject hearing the case, which he said would, “…represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of this court’s original jurisdiction.”​
    Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and the District of Columbia have all legalized marijuana for adult use. 23 states and D.C. have legalized some form of access to medical marijuana. In August 2013, the Department of Justice released a memorandumindicating they would no longer interfere in states that choose to regulate marijuana as long as common sense measures are taken to prevent organized crime within the legal businesses and prevent youth access to marijuana, among other reasonable goals.​
    LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed marijuana policies that have engendered gang violence, fostered corruption and racism, clogged the justice system at every step of the process, and diverted significant resources away from addressing more important crimes.
    ###​

    [​IMG]
    Source: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
    Date: 21-03-2016 17:56
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