March 25, 2016
If you listened hard enough, you could hear the collective sigh of relief throughout Colorado’s legal marijuana industry when the Supreme Court’s decision to deny hearing the Oklahoma/Nebraska v. Colorado lawsuit hit the news.
Flashback to December 2014 –
Oklahoma and Nebraska filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court against Colorado. In their original complaint, the two states argued that marijuana purchased in Colorado flows into neighboring states, such as Nebraska and Oklahoma, undermining those states’ own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems.
Oklahoma and Nebraska requested the Court to determine that Amendment 64 of the Colorado Constitution be preempted by federal law, thus making Amendment 64 unconstitutional and unenforceable. In other words, the states wanted to make the recreational use of marijuana illegal in Colorado again.
But the problem is, it’s not just Colorado who legalized recreational use of marijuana – so hearing this case may have just been the beginning.
Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and the District of Columbia have all legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Also, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of access to medical marijuana.
In addition to states trending more toward the legalizing of marijuana, in August 2013, the Department of Justice stated it would not interfere in states that choose to regulate marijuana.
Flashforward to February 2016 –
As the Supreme Court was about to discuss this important case, Justice Scalia unexpectly passed away, throwing everyone into speculation on the new timeframe of the decision.
But after a brief delay, the 6-2 decision to deny the states’ request to hear the case was announced the week of March 21, 2016. Which brings us to our collective *sigh*.
Colorado’s legal recreational marijuana dispensaries have a lot of challenges ahead, but with the string of losses in court for those challenging these laws, the future is looking brighter!