Nebraska and Oklahoma, two of the states that border Colorado, have filed suit directly with the Supreme Court asking them to overturn Colorado’s marijuana legalization. Their reason, according to The Denver Post, is that a state legalizing recreational marijuana violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Colorado’s attorney general, John Suthers, acknowledged that both states were worried about Colorado-grown marijuana making its way across their borders, and causing undue burdens on their legal systems and taxpayers. In a news conference, Nebraska’s attorney general, Jon Bruning, said that was, indeed, the case. So he and Oklahoma decided to potentially spend a lot of taxpayer money on a lawsuit, instead of putting a measure to the people to see if they wanted to legalize recreational marijuana. On the subject of federal law, Bruning said:
“Federal law undisputedly prohibits the production and sale of marijuana. Colorado has undermined the United States Constitution, and I hope the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold our constitutional principles.”
One has to ask this question, though: Since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, they’ve had a windfall of tax dollars from sales (not to mention the money they’re likely saving from no longer arresting and prosecuting people for pot possession). Why on earth would Nebraska and Oklahoma not want to take advantage of that?
Well, it seems that the law is the law, and Bruning wants it upheld, not shoved under the rug, despite his strong beliefs in state sovereignty. He led a coalition of state attorneys general in fighting various aspects of the Affordable Care Act. He also supported the D.C Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that struck down the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, calling that a victory for states’ rights.
But when the issue is marijuana—or anything the right typically does not approve of—suddenly, they’re the staunchest backers of the Supremacy Clause you ever saw. At that point, they’ll go running to the Supreme Court like a five-year old whiny tattletale crying to anybody who’ll listen that his big bad sister stole his ball.
Or they’ll get sneaky and slip de-funding provisions into budget bills, like Congress just did in their rush to avoid a government shutdown. Thankfully, that little provision only applies to the District of Columbia, where voters approved legalized recreational marijuana back in November.
Bottom line, this is ridiculous. It’s high time (no pun intended) that conservatives realize this is a fight they’ve lost, and started taking advantage of the influxes of tax dollars they could get from legalizing recreational marijuana. Not to mention, they should think of the money we’ll all save when we stop arresting and prosecuting people for possessing the stuff. The stupid is strong in these ones.
Featured image by United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons