The U.S. government sided with Colorado on Wednesday in a dispute with neighboring states over marijuana legalization, the Cannabist reported. A new brief filed by U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. urged the U.S. Supreme Court to not hear a case challenging Colorado’s recreational cannabis laws.
Nebraska and Oklahoma had requested in December 2014 that the Supreme Court strike down Colorado’s marijuana laws. In response earlier this year, the Supreme Court asked the top government lawyer for an opinion on the case. In the brief filed, the solicitor general questioned whether it was an appropriate case for the nation's highest court.
— The Cannabist (@cannabist) December 16, 2015
“The motion for leave to file a bill of complaint should be denied because this is not an appropriate case for the exercise of this Court’s original jurisdiction,” the brief said.“Entertaining the type of dispute at issue here -- essentially that one State’s laws make it more likely that third parties will violate federal and state law in another State -- would represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of this Court’s original jurisdiction.”
Marijuana law experts hailed the brief as, “great news for Colorado,” and Tom Agnell, chairman of the advocacy group Marijuana Majority called it, “the right move by the Obama administration.”
“Colorado and a growing number of states have decided to move away from decades of failed prohibition laws, and so far things seem to be working out as planned," Agnell said in a statement. “The Justice Department is correct here: This lawsuit is without merit and should be dismissed.”