Pubdate: Fri, 06 Mar 2015
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2015 The Washington Times, LLC.
Author: Valerie Richardson


Contend Recreational Marijuana Use Violates Federal Laws

DENVER - A dozen sheriffs and county attorneys from three states sued 
Thursday to overturn Colorado's recreational marijuana law, the 
latest in a string of lawsuits targeting the nation's first legalized 
retail pot market.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Denver, argues that Colorado's 
two-year-old constitutional amendment allowing marijuana use, 
cultivation and sales violates the federal Controlled Substances Act.

"If allowed to continue in effect, Amendment 64's legalization and 
commercialization scheme will conflict with and undermine the federal 
government's careful balance of anti-drug enforcement priorities and 
objectives," the lawsuit said.

"It will directly conflict with express federal policy which 
prohibits entirely the possession and use for any purpose of certain 
controlled substances, including marijuana products," the lawsuit 
continued. "Finally, it will interfere with vital foreign policy 
interests by disrupting the United States' relationship with other 
countries which have entered into treaties and protocols with the 
United States to control trafficking in marijuana and other 
controlled substances."

The brief names Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper as the sole 
defendant. Attorney General Cynthia Coffman would be charged with 
defending the state's marijuana law, which was passed by the voters 
in November 2012.

"While we have not yet seen the lawsuit, our office will defend any 
legal challenge to Colorado's marijuana law," said Coffman 
spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler.

Filing the lawsuit are six Colorado sheriffs, led by Larimer County 
Sheriff Justin Smith, along with three sheriffs from Nebraska and one 
from Kansas, all in their individual capacity, and some also in their 
official capacity. Two county attorneys, one from Kansas and one from 
Nebraska, are also named as plaintiffs.

In December the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma filed a complaint 
against Colorado directly with the U.S. Supreme Court. Last month, 
several business and land owners sued in federal court, saying their 
property values had been damaged by local marijuana cultivation and 
retail operations.

Mason Tvert, the legalization activist who spearheaded the Amendment 
64 campaign, called the sheriffs' lawsuit "just another case of the 
arrest-and-prosecution industry teaming up with marijuana prohibition 
groups to roll back the progress that has been made in Colorado."

"Marijuana is legal for adults in Colorado, regulation is working, 
and it's time for these folks to get over it," said Mr. Tvert, now 
spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement to 
Westword, a Denver-based "alternative" weekly paper. "Voters and 
elected officials adopted these laws in order to make our communities 
safer. It's disappointing to see these officials, who are supposed to 
be maintaining public safety, try to undermine them."

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, Colorado Democrat, said the solution is to 
pass a bill he has sponsored at the federal level that would legalize 
recreational marijuana for adults nationwide.

"Unfortunately, these frivolous lawsuits will likely continue until 
we pass my bipartisan Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act and finally 
end the outdated federal prohibition of marijuana," Mr. Polis said in 
a statement to Westword.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom