[JURIST] Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman [official website] on Friday filed a brief [motion, PDF] urging the US Supreme Court [official website] to throw out a lawsuit by Nebraska and Oklahoma challenging Colorado’s marijuana legalization law. Nebraska and Oklahoma argue [JURIST report] that the legal sale of marijuana in Colorado has caused the piping of marijuana into the neighboring states where the substance is illegal. The lawsuit contends that allowing Colorado to continue with its state-run marijuana shops is in direct conflict with federal law and the Supremacy Clause, and is therefore unconstitutional. Coffman stated [press release, PDF], “[m]y office remains committed to defending Colorado’s law. At the same time, I share our border states’ concerns regarding illegal marijuana activity, and my office, as well as our partner state and local law enforcement agencies, are committed to stopping marijuana diversion.”
The legal use and sale of marijuana [JURIST backgrounder] for both medical and recreational purposes has become a controversial issue in the US with a number of states contemplating various legalization initiatives. In November voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, DC, voted [JURIST report] to legalize recreational marijuana. In September the Pennsylvania State Senate approved [JURIST Report] legislation that would legalize several forms of medical marijuana. In July Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed [JURIST report] legislation that will allow adults and children suffering from seizures access to medical marijuana. Last April the Maryland House of Representatives passed a bill [JURIST report] that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.