Increasing Marijuana Busts Prompt Nebraska to Sue Colorado

Marijuana Busts

In September, a hearing was conducted on the crisis concerning the surge in impaired drivers and marijuana busts, which Nebraska politicians and law enforcement believe stems from Colorado’s new marijuana legalization laws. Attorney General Jon Bruning finally took action, filing a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court which declared that the legalization of marijuana by its neighboring state Colorado violates the U.S. Constitution. This was announced at a press conference where he was joined by Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Scott Pruitt.

“Federal law undisputedly prohibits the production and sale of marijuana,” Bruning said. “Colorado has undermined the United States Constitution, and I hope the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold our constitutional principles.”

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said in a statement that he will defend the state’s legalization of marijuana.

“Because neighboring states have expressed concern about Colorado-grown marijuana coming into their states, we are not entirely surprised by this action,” Suthers said. “However, it appears the plaintiffs’ primary grievance stems from non-enforcement of federal laws regarding marijuana, as opposed to choices made by the voters of Colorado. We believe this suit is without merit and we will vigorously defend against it in the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Their decision to sue has already been shown to have the widespread support from Nebraska law enforcement, as Sheriff Mark Overman said that he had been eagerly anticipating the action amidst the staggering number of marijuana busts.

“This stuff is illegal here, it’s coming here and it’s had an adverse effect on our citizens and way of life,” Overman said. “Nebraska, from highest elected officials on down, should do something about it.”

In 2009, Colorado began opening dispensaries for medical marijuana, and last January, allowed specially licensed stores to start selling weed to customers—but it remains an illicit drug under federal law and in Nebraska and the six other states bordering Colorado.

Bruning’s decision to sue comes in wake of the significant financial impact felt by Nebraska law enforcement agencies. Western Nebraska counties along Interstate 80 have seen the worst of it. Marijuana busts have spiked because of legally purchased pot turned contraband. Colorado’s other bordering states have taken a hit, as well. At the western tip of Oklahoma, authorities regularly apprehend travelers coming from Colorado with marijuana.

“Nebraska taxpayers have to bear the cost,” Bruning said Thursday. “We can’t afford to divert resources to deal with Colorado’s problem.”