This article was originally published on The New York Times on March 21, 2016 by Adam Liptak.
CreditBrennan Linsley/Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an unusual lawsuit challenging Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana and told a Massachusetts court to take a new look at a Second Amendment case involving stun guns.
In the marijuana case, two states sought to use a rare procedure to attack the Colorado law, asking the justices to allow them to file a lawsuit directly in the Supreme Court. The Constitution gives the court such “original jurisdiction” to hear disputes between states, but the court uses it sparingly, most often to adjudicate boundary disputes or water rights.
“The State of Colorado authorizes, oversees, protects and profits from a sprawling $100-million-per-month marijuana growing, processing and retailing organization that exported thousands of pounds of marijuana to some 36 states in 2014,” two neighboring states, Nebraska and Oklahoma,told the court. “If this entity were based south of our border, the federal government would prosecute it as a drug cartel.”
In 2012, Colorado voters amended the state’s Constitution to allow recreational use of marijuana and to regulate its sale and distribution. Nebraska and Oklahoma did not challenge the law’s decriminalization of the drug’s possession and use, but said other parts of the law were at odds with federal law and had vast spillover effects, taxing neighboring states’ criminal justice systems and hurting the health of their residents.
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