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SCOTUS Turns Down OK and NE Bid to Sue

By April 5, 2016April 5th, 2024No Comments

Unless you lived in a cave for the entire year of 2012, you’re well aware that the state of Colorado legalized marijuana. While residents of Colorado, especially those who own Taco Bells, rejoiced, others weren’t so happy.

One of those unhappy campers, is Oklahoma State Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Along with other opponents of marijuana, Pruitt argues that Colorado isn’t doing enough to prevent pot from spilling over the state borders into states where pot is still illegal.

The influx of pot into Oklahoma and other states has forced states to spend extra money on law enforcement and other drug task forces, Pruitt claims.

“Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining States’ own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems.”

Frustrated with the current state of affairs, Oklahoma teamed up with the state of Nebraska and tried to sue Colorado. In order for one state to sue another state, the Supreme Court must sign off on it.

Oklahoma and Nebraska first took their case to the SCOTUS in December of 2014, and the case sat on the docket until March 2016.

Last month, the Court decided Oklahoma and Nebraska had no grounds for a case. Justice Thomas and Alito both wanted to hear the case. Not to fight over pot, but to decide why the court should decide whether states can sue each other.

It’s looking more likely that states will take matters into their own hands when it comes to the legalization of marijuana. The federal government seems to respect states’ sovereignty, but doesn’t want to make a decision either way.

This presents an interesting situation in regards to how states with legal marijuana interact with states that don’t have legal marijuana. The idea of state sovereignty has been around for a long time, but this is one of the few times states are claiming another state’s sovereignty is clashing with their sovereignty.