December 19, 2014

Can Oklahoma and Nebraska get the U.S. Supreme Court to stop Colorado from facilitating the commerce in marijuana?

States suing states can file their case directly in the Supreme Court, as you may know. Here's the NYT article about the lawsuit:
“Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states,” the suit says, undermining their marijuana bans, “draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems.”...

Nebraska and Oklahoma’s challenge is aimed more at the commercial side of marijuana legalization, which created new systems of regulations and taxes as well as recreational stores, dispensaries and production facilities that are monitored and licensed by state officials. The suit does not specifically seek to overturn the portion of Amendment 64 that made marijuana legal for personal use and possession, meaning that portions of legalization could survive even if Nebraska and Oklahoma prevail.
States are not obligated to help the federal government enforce its laws, and clearly Colorado can decide to do nothing and let the feds enforce their own law. That's why Nebraska and Oklahoma has focused on the active things Colorado is doing to facilitate the commerce in marijuana.
The lawsuit... accused Colorado officials of participating in a “scheme” that cultivates, packages and distributes marijuana in direct violation of controlled-substances laws while “ignoring every objective embodied in the federal drug control regulation.” ...

While it is against the law to take legally purchased marijuana across state lines, Nebraska and Oklahoma said that Colorado does not require consumers to smoke or eat their marijuana where they buy it, and said that despite purchasing and possession limits, anyone can easily visit several dispensaries and stock up. Some sheriffs in bordering states say they have pulled over drivers and found edibles and marijuana from multiple Colorado retail outlets.
You can read the state's Motion for Leave to File Complain, Complaint, and Brief here.

48 comments:

khesanh0802 said...

It's nice to see the "federal" system in practice. A great reminder that power flows generally from the people through the states to the Feds. I hope we are in for a great deal of re-education about our system of government with the large number of Republican state legislatures and the Republican majority in Congress.

JRoberts said...

Who cares.

Pass the Doritos.

Nonapod said...

This kind of stupid crap will keep happening until Marijuana is removed from the Schedule I controlled substances list.

madAsHell said...

I enjoy a little marijuana, but I don't think it should be legal. It is a tremendous waste of time.

Fernandistein said...

Nonapod said...
This kind of stupid crap will keep happening until Marijuana is removed from the Schedule I controlled substances list.


In the Motion To Whine, Complain and Continue to Put Harmless People in Cages, they repeat the lie:

"12. Marijuana was classified by Congress as a Schedule I drug. 21 U.S.C. § 812(c). Marijuana is therefore subject to the most severe restrictions contained within the CSA. Schedule I drugs are categorized as such because of their high potential for abuse, lack of any accepted medical use, and absence of any accepted safe use in medically supervised treatment. 21 U.S.C. § 812(b)(1)."

Which is why people with epileptic kids are moving to CO for treatment, and I 'spose also why CO deaths from pain meds - and traffic accidents - have gone down since legalization.


“I see another thing in the news summary this morning about it. That's a funny
thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob, what is the matter with them? I suppose it's because most of them are psychiatrists, you know, there's so many, all the greatest psychiatrists are Jewish." -- Nixon.

B said...

I'm sure police will put up checkpoints (in both directions) at the Colorado border. Get drivers coming back with marijuana, but more importantly get drivers leaving with cash.

"Oh, you're headed into Colorado with $1,000 cash? Must be to buy marijuana and bring it back to Nebraska. We'll be taking that."

MadisonMan said...

How does it drain their treasuries if they can fine the people who are PotMoving from Colorado? Why not just increase the fine for transport?

prairie wind said...

Nebraska's prisons are at 150% capacity and the attorney general wants to put more people in prison for something that is legal in four other states.

The Nebraska DOC was letting people out of prison before they were even eligible for parole and the attorney general wants to trust the DOC with even more prisoners.

The Nebraska DOC ignored state Supreme court decisions about how to calculate prisoner release dates and the attorney general wants to continue to put more people in prison.

MadisonMan said...

I'm sure police will put up checkpoints (in both directions) at the Colorado border.

This is done in Kansas, I've heard. If you're driving eastbound with Colorado plates in Kansas, make sure absolutely nothing is wrong with your car.

LYNNDH said...

Yeah, the new thing for Colorado travelers is "Driving while having Colorado plates".

Aunty Trump said...

I don't really care about what Colorado does, but wouldn't a better approach be to point out that it violates treaties the US has joined?

Doesn't that make it unconstitutional right there?

robinintn said...

So is driving from Colorado probable cause?

Unknown said...

I don't care about legalization of MJ one way or the other, but as long as it illegal federally it makes absolutely no sense to legalize it locally. It undermines federal authority to have laws in place that are deliberately ignored.

James Pawlak said...

What, if any, impact has legal MJ made on the rate of vehicle accident (Injuries/deaths) in Colorado and neighboring states?

traditionalguy said...

They could hire the Norks to hack the SCOTUS and change the opinions with well placed No or Not slipped in here and there. It can be done.

Anthony said...

So even if public officials from Colorado are actively violating Federal law (and not just deliberately failing to enforce it), shouldn't Nebraska and Oklahoma be suing the DoJ to mandate enforcement of Federal drug laws in Colorado? The relief requested, that the Colorado laws be declared unconstitutional and not be enforced cannot require Colorado state or local officials to enforce Federal law, can it?

Fernandistein said...

James Pawlak said...
What, if any, impact has legal MJ made on the rate of vehicle accident (Injuries/deaths) in Colorado and neighboring states?


Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows

Another Study That Does Not Show Legalizing Pot Boosts Traffic Fatalities

Achilles said...

Fernandinande said...
"James Pawlak said...
What, if any, impact has legal MJ made on the rate of vehicle accident (Injuries/deaths) in Colorado and neighboring states?

Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows

Another Study That Does Not Show Legalizing Pot Boosts Traffic Fatalities"

As pot becomes legal in more places more people will see first hand the lies they have been fed. People who are high drive slower, are paranoid, and more likely to pull over than to drive recklessly. I wont let them drive because I am usually wanting to get where I am going. They are safer drivers high than sober.

lgv said...

"
Blogger madAsHell said...

I enjoy a little marijuana, but I don't think it should be legal. It is a tremendous waste of time. "

A waste of time should not be illegal, or I'd be wasting a lot of time in jail for all those hours playing video games when I was younger.

Hagar said...

That factor will diminish as they get used to marijuana being more or less legal (illegal, but not enforced).

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Unknown said...
I don't care about legalization of MJ one way or the other, but as long as it illegal federally it makes absolutely no sense to legalize it locally. It undermines federal authority to have laws in place that are deliberately ignored.


That's true and an imporant point, but when you look at what's being justified under "prosecutorial discretion" I think the Fed is doing quite enough to undermine their own authority and respect for the Law (and the concept of rule of law) in general.

Baronger said...

Here is a question, are states bound by International treaties created by the Federal government.

Anonymous said...

There was a time when Federal Law said that black kids got to go to white schools. Some states decided they didn't like that Federal Law. The Federal Government decided to enforce that law, no matter the states objections.

If you're for states rights in Marijuana laws, shouldn't you be for states rights in all laws?

If tomorrow, Mississippi wanted to ignore the civil rights act, would you be ok with that?

It's disgusting to me that suddenly we are ok with States picking and choosing which laws they follow and which they do not.

This all flows from the Executive branch and it's "non enforcement" policy.

It's not going to end well.

I promise you this much. If I'm ever harmed here in Washington State by the illegal distribution of Marijuana, facilitated by the State of Washington, I'm going to sue the State, not the person who harmed me.

Trashhauler said...

Why go to the Supreme Court? Hasn't the Congress already used the interstate commerce clause to claim federal jurisdiction over nearly everything?

Anonymous said...

Here is a question, are states bound by International treaties created by the Federal government.

Yes, they are. Because those treaties have to be ratified by the Senate. Senators are the States Representatives in Congress. We tend to forget that now because the Senators are no longer picked by the States, they are elected like Congressmen.

damikesc said...

I think it's an asinine case --- but given precedent with the Commerce Clause, it will probably win.

Aunty Trump said...

I agree about potheads driving slow. They are almost as bad as thy guy hypermiling in his Prius on winding mountain roads.

Achilles said...

tim in vermont said...
"I agree about potheads driving slow. They are almost as bad as thy guy hypermiling in his Prius on winding mountain roads."

Pot heads pull over when they get too freaked out. Everyone looks like a cop to them.

The Prius Putz thinks everyone stuck behind him is a stupid asshole who is trying to go too fast and he/she is doing them a favor by slowing them down.

Achilles said...

eric said...

"If you're for states rights in Marijuana laws, shouldn't you be for states rights in all laws?

If tomorrow, Mississippi wanted to ignore the civil rights act, would you be ok with that?"

False equivalence bordering on straw man argument. Telling people they can't smoke pot is not the same as enforcing obvious language in the constitution and in the 14th amendment guaranteeing equal treatment under the law. It is one of the few actual mandates in the federal government charter to enforce equal treatment. It is definitely not one of their powers to tell people how to live correctly.

But absent any real argument you want to equate legalizing pot with Jim Crow. Unfortunately for you it is closer to the opposite. But then again I wouldn't expect a cop to want to give up the power to arrest someone. Although pot heads are notoriously apathetic and non-combative one of them might "resist" and you guys would get to beat them up too.

Aunty Trump said...

False equivalence bordering on straw man argument.

Ha ha ha ha!

I have come to believe that the only thing a person really gets right every time is if it is his ox getting gored.

Anonymous said...

Telling people they can't smoke pot is not the same as enforcing obvious language in the constitution and in the 14th amendment guaranteeing equal treatment under the law.

Except the Supreme Court has upheld the Federal Drug laws.

Therefore, they are both Federal Laws.

Just because you agree with one and disagree with the other isn't a legit reason to say, "It's ok if our Federal Government enforces the rules I like and doesn't enforce the rules I don't like."

That's called hypocrisy.

Aunty Trump said...

State's rights are good when I like what they want and bad when I don't. /shorter eric.

Aunty Trump said...

Doesn't the "guarantee of equal treatment under the law" mean something different than a "guarantee of equal treatment"?

Why add the extra words if they don't mean anything?

Jupiter said...

eric said...
"I promise you this much. If I'm ever harmed here in Washington State by the illegal distribution of Marijuana, facilitated by the State of Washington, I'm going to sue the State, not the person who harmed me."

You are going to sue the State of Washington for failing to enforce federal laws? Or for failing to have a law that prevents whatever happens to befall you? Good luck with that.

What I don't quite get is, what are they asking for? A federal injunction? The actions of the State of Colorado in setting up marijuana markets are already felonies subject to many years of imprisonment under federal law. But the feds don't care to enforce those laws. Not real clear what difference an injunction would make. Can Nebraska sue Colorado for damages?

The Framers apparently believed that the officers of government would take their duties seriously. As Obama is making abundantly clear, that faith was naive, perhaps even foolhardy. Quis custodiet?

Anonymous said...

Jupiter, putting words in my mouth, writes;


You are going to sue the State of Washington for failing to enforce federal laws? Or for failing to have a law that prevents whatever happens to befall you? Good luck with that.


Notice I said neither of those things?

Instead, I wrote:

facilitated by the State of Washington

I think we both know why you had to put words in my mouth in order to argue against that one.

Wilbur said...

"I promise you this much. If I'm ever harmed here in Washington State by the illegal distribution of Marijuana, facilitated by the State of Washington, I'm going to sue the State, not the person who harmed me."

What would be the basis of your cause of action? Or, in other words, under what legal theory would you sue? Negligence? Strict liabilty? Product liability? A constitutional claim?

SGT Ted said...

eric said...
"I promise you this much. If I'm ever harmed here in Washington State by the illegal distribution of Marijuana, facilitated by the State of Washington, I'm going to sue the State, not the person who harmed me."


You'll have about as much success suing Budweiser if you get harmed by a drunk.

Anonymous said...

Wilber asks;

What would be the basis of your cause of action? Or, in other words, under what legal theory would you sue? Negligence? Strict liabilty? Product liability? A constitutional claim?

I'm not a lawyer, I just play one here at Althouse.

If I were to take such an action, I'd probably go off of the Landlords responsibility:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/landlord-liability-criminal-acts-faq-29060-3.html

Only, the State has a helluva lot more money than any Landlord.

Do you think I'd not be able to find a lawyer who'd want some of that cash?

n.n said...

I hope they bought their carbon credits. The fine and shaming for anthropogenic carbon emissions can be brutal.

Wilbur said...

Eric, good luck with your future lawsuit.

I suspect you'll need it.

Revenant said...

Reason magazine pointed out that the outcome of Oklahoma and Nebraska's actions would be to force Colorado to stop regulating marijuana. They cannot force Colorado to make it illegal, or to use resources cracking down on it. Not even the federal government can do that.

My guess? This is a friendly lawsuit, like the ones environmentalists file against the EPA. The activists file a lawsuit demanding the EPA do something the EPA already wants to do but hasn't been authorized to do by law. Then the EPA "settles" and agrees to do it.

The government of Colorado hates the fact that their citizens wanted this. My guess is they'll "settle" and agree to crack down on marijuana, even though they have no legal right to do so.

Revenant said...

I'd probably go off of the Landlords responsibility:

The state isn't a landlord.

Shootist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Hayden said...

Yeah, the new thing for Colorado travelers is "Driving while having Colorado plates".

Long been the case in Wyoming. Been stopped more than once on I-25 S of Cheyenne, or I-80 west of there purely, it seemed, for having CO plates. One time was picked out of a pack of 8-10 vehicles, with many of them driving faster than I was. Also got similarly nailed in W WY w/Utah plates. First time was maybe 40 years ago, and the most recent was maybe 10 years ago.

One humorous story was when I was stopped on I-80 by a WY state trooper with expired CO plates. He told me that he was going on coffee break for half an hour, but would then radio along I-80, and if any of his buddies saw me, they would tow my vehicle, leaving me along the side of the road (not good in desolate rural WY). I took the next road S into CO, barely making the half hour deadline, and adding an hour or two to my trip.

But they don't always nail CO plates. A friend was the top sergeant of an AF Reserve unit in UT. He drove that stretch of I-80 routinely fairly fast. They would occasionally pull him over with a "hey Sarge, slow it up a bit", and let him go. Never ticketed - they were all apparently former military.

Achilles said...

eric said...
"Telling people they can't smoke pot is not the same as enforcing obvious language in the constitution and in the 14th amendment guaranteeing equal treatment under the law.

Except the Supreme Court has upheld the Federal Drug laws.

Therefore, they are both Federal Laws."

The 14th amendment is an amendment to the constitution. Slightly different than a law.



Achilles said...

eric said...

"It's disgusting to me that suddenly we are ok with States picking and choosing which laws they follow and which they do not."

This results from the federal government passing too many laws.

"It's not going to end well."

Neither is the "War on Drugs." Thankfully it is almost over.

"I promise you this much. If I'm ever harmed here in Washington State by the illegal distribution of Marijuana, facilitated by the State of Washington, I'm going to sue the State, not the person who harmed me."

You can do that. But it would be stupid. You wont lose much money though because your case wont last very long.

Anonymous said...

I was referring to the civil rights act.

Original Mike said...

"I promise you this much. If I'm ever harmed here in Washington State by the illegal distribution of Marijuana, facilitated by the State of Washington, I'm going to sue the State, not the person who harmed me."

I'm sure Washington is quaking in its boots.