The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday declined [order list, PDF] to hear a case brought by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado, challenging its marijuana laws. The lawsuit [complaint, PDF], filed directly in the Supreme Court [JURIST report], claimed that Colorado’s actions to legalize and regulate marijuana and marijuana products contravene the US Constitution and intrude on the petitioning states’ internal drug regulation, justice systems and treasuries. Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman [official website] issued a statement [press release] welcoming the denial of the motion.
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. Last year Coffman filed a brief [JURIST report] urging the Supreme Court to throw out the lawsuit. In November 2014 voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, DC, voted [JURIST report] to legalize recreational marijuana. Last week the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize the use and distribution of medical marijuana. It is expected that the Senate will approve the measure, having already approved a previous version [JURIST report] and that Governor Tom Wolf will sign it into law, making Pennsylvania the twenty-third state to approve the use of medical marijuana.