In a major victory for state’s rights Monday, the Supreme Court rejected an effort by Nebraska and Oklahoma to have Colorado’s pot legalization declared unconstitutional.
The final ruling came out at 6-2 and although the justices have not publicly commented, their dismissal of the case puts an end to the lengthy lawsuit launched against Colorado by the two neighboring states.
Their argument purported that the plant, while legal in Colorado, is spilling across into their states where it is still very much an illicit substance, thereby hindering their anti-drug efforts and massively draining state resources.
However, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, who would have heard the lawsuit, did not think this was justifiable ground to impose a reversal on Colorado’s state right to legalization. Since the justices have remained silent, one can only imagine the ruling the pair of justices may have handed down.
In December, The Obama Administration asked the Supreme Court to ignore this lawsuit. Although this was a great sign for Colorado, the final decision wasn’t made until today. Needless to say, Colorado cannabis consumers are breathing a sigh of relief.
Does this backwards way of thinking have any implications for legalization in Nebraska and Oklahoma? We certainly hope not, but it’s too early to tell. Although the federal ban on marijuana still stands, this ruling reinforces individual states’ right to legalize locally and provides one more step, no matter how tiny, on the road to the full repeal of national prohibition.