Sheriffs sue Colorado over legal marijuana

XXX NEWS-HUGHES-20140609-171112.JPGUSA Today – by Trevor Hughes

DENVER — Sheriffs from Colorado and neighboring states Kansas and Nebraska say in a lawsuit to be filed Thursday that Colorado’s marijuana law creates a “crisis of conscience” by pitting the state law against the Constitution and puts an economic burden on other states.

The lawsuit asks a federal court in Denver to strike down Colorado’s Amendment 64 that legalized the sale of recreational marijuana and to close the state’s more than 330 licensed marijuana stores.  

Lead plaintiff, Larimer County, Colo., Sheriff Justin Smith, calls the case a “constitutional showdown.” Each day, he says, he must decide whether to violate the Colorado Constitution or the U.S. Constitution. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana sales Jan. 1, 2014, but marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.

Colorado is “asking every peace officer to violate their oath,” Smith said. “What we’re being forced to do … makes me ineligible for office. Which constitution are we supposed to uphold?”

The out-of-state sheriffs say the flow of Colorado’s legal marijuana across the border has increased drug arrests, overburdened police and courts and cost them money in overtime.

Felony drug arrests in the town of Chappell in Deuel County, Neb., 7 miles north of the Colorado border, jumped 400% over three years, a USA TODAY report tracking the flow of marijuana from Colorado into small towns across Nebraska found. Deuel County Sheriff Adam Hayward is one of the plaintiffs.

Police officers monitoring the flow of marijuana outside Colorado say volumes have risen annually. The Colorado-based Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force is still compiling 2014 numbers but expects to see the trend continue, director Tom Gorman said. He said non-residents often strike backdoor deals with legal growers to buy more than they are allowed, then illegally drive, fly or mail the marijuana across state lines.

The lawsuit invokes the federal government’s right to regulate drugs and interstate commerce and argues that Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana hurt communities on the other side of the state lines. Attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma filed a similar lawsuit late last year.

Colorado has not responded to the suit from the attorneys general, and Gov. John Hickenlooper, the defendant in the sheriffs’ lawsuit, has not been served. Hickenlooper has said he respects the will of Colorado’s voters. He has sought guidance from the federal government.

The Justice Department said it would largely take a hands-off approach in states that have legalized marijuana as long as regulations seek to keep the drugs away from children and criminals. Smith, the sheriff from Larimer, said that guidance amounts to instructing people “how to violate federal law but not get prosecuted.”

Supporters of legalization criticize such lawsuits as last-ditch attempts by conservative politicians to derail states’ movement toward marijuana legalization.

Speaking about the Nebraska-Oklahoma lawsuit in December, Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project said police should focus their attention on serious crimes and leave alone people who choose to use marijuana.

“These guys are on the wrong side of history,” Tvert said.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/03/05/sheriffs-from-three-states-sue-colorado-over-marijuana/24385401/

8 thoughts on “Sheriffs sue Colorado over legal marijuana

  1. “Speaking about the Nebraska-Oklahoma lawsuit in December, Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project said police should focus their attention on serious crimes and leave alone people who choose to use marijuana.” WHAT A CONCEPT. who uda thunk it?

  2. This idiot Sheriff needs to be booted from office. He obviously knows nothing about the US Constitution. The Federal government does NOT supercede the State government. If the pot is not being sold across state lines it is not the Federal government’s business.

  3. Samuel sure got this right! Since when have these “sheriffs” been following the Constitution for the United States of America? Real convenient right now to claim reverence to the constitution???, when they have been allowing federal agents (IRS, NSA, FBI, etc, etc. etc.) to disobey the Bill of Rights for decades.
    Booted out of office and run out on a rail is more like it.

  4. He is all in a twitter about nt being able to ruin peoples lives with a felony conviction for a joint. All the easy money and phuquing people is just to much for the poor pig to bare!

  5. “The out-of-state sheriffs say the flow of Colorado’s legal marijuana across the border has increased drug arrests, overburdened police and courts and cost them money in overtime.”

    Solution: LEGALIZE IT LIKE COLORADO DID, idiots. Aren’t they indirectly ADMITTING how much it costs taxpayers having marijuana being illegal?

    1. This is no different than going to the next state over and buying fireworks. I don’t hear them crying about bottle-rockets!

  6. So where is the provision IN THE CONSTITUTION that empowers the feds to tell you what you can or cannot posses , own or smoke, eat etc? Please show it to me. It should be in Art. 1 Sect. 8 which ENUMERATES the powers they have been given.

    nope I dont see it.. irrelevant government

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