Nebraska, Oklahoma join suit to halt Colorado marijuana law

Keywords Courts / Drugs / Government / neglect

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson and his counterpart in Oklahoma are joining a lawsuit aimed at halting legal marijuana in Colorado.

The two states asked to be added as plaintiffs this month in a case being considered by an appeals court in Denver, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

The appeals court in Colorado hasn’t given a timeline for addressing the request, but allowed lawyers for the states to make merit-based arguments in briefs due May 23.

The appeal combines two separate cases: one on behalf of a Colorado couple who own land near a recreational marijuana growing facility and another brought by a group of sheriffs from Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska.

Oklahoma and Nebraska argue they have “unique sovereign interests” in stopping marijuana from crossing their state borders, and that they shouldn’t be left out as the court weighs the issue. Those interests wouldn’t be represented by the current plaintiffs, said Peterson and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt in their motion to intervene in the appeal.

“Because the people of Nebraska and Oklahoma have determined that marijuana is harmful and should be illegal, Nebraska and Oklahoma have a duty to protect their citizens from the continuing harms resulting from Colorado's illegal activities, by taking action to ensure that Colorado marijuana does not enter their sovereign boundaries,” the states’ lawyers wrote.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied considering a similar lawsuit by the states in March. When Colorado launched recreational marijuana sales 2014, then-Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Pruitt had asked the high court to intervene.

Lawyers for Pueblo County, the defendant in the appeals case, wrote in response to Nebraska and Oklahoma's new request that the states are trying to sidestep regular procedure after being rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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