A two state effort to get the U.S. Supreme Court to decide Colorado’s legalized marijuana law has fallen short.
Nebraska and Oklahoma wanted the court to take up the issue directly, but a majority of justices says it should come to them through the lower courts.
“Today, the Supreme Court has not held that Colorado’s unconstitutional facilitation of marijuana industrialization is legal,” Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said in a news release, “and the Court’s decision does not bar additional challenges to Colorado’s scheme in federal district court.”
Justices Thomas and Alito dissented from the majority over denying of the motion.
University of Nebraska College of Law professor Eric Berger says the justices rarely approve what is called a Motion for Leave to hear a case directly.
“[This] dispute is really that one state’s laws make it more likely that third parties will violate federal and state law, so to that extent, it’s not really the kind of typical case where you have a state against a state,” Berger tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I think that’s probably why the Court denied jurisdiction.”
Law enforcement in Nebraska and Oklahoma claim the drug and associated problems are coming into their states.
They want Colorado’s law overturned, because it is in conflict with federal laws prohibiting marijuana.
“Nebraska’s suit faces an uphill battle,” Berger says, “because under our federal system, states have the prerogative of setting their own policy for something like marijuana.”