Mar 052015
 March 5, 2015

colorado marijuana legalization denver daSheriffs In Colorado, Nebraska, And Kansas File Lawsuit Against Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

A third lawsuit has been filed against Colorado with the aim of overturning marijuana legalization. This third lawsuit has been filed by Sheriffs in Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas. Per USA Today:

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.

The lawsuit brought swift reaction from the marijuana activism community. The head of Marijuana Majority, Tom Angell, had the following to say:

While a growing majority of Americans supports replacing failed prohibition policies with legalization, there will always be some people who desperately try to cling to what’s familiar. The people of Colorado and other states have spoken, and now these prohibitionists who lost at the ballot box on Election Day are trying to overturn the will of the voters by making a last-ditch attempt in the courts. They are wrong about marijuana policy and they are on the wrong side of history.

And from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:

Today sheriffs from Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas filed a lawsuit against Colorado’s marijuana legalization law, Amendment 64. The officers claim the law is unconstitutional, and that there is increased burden on law enforcement in neighboring states.

Legalization advocates, including Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, point to the many positive benefits of legalization, including that it has reduced the burden on law enforcement within the state, citing the fact that marijuana possession arrests have dropped 84% in Colorado since 2010. Colorado is also experiencing significant benefits, including a decreasing unemployment rate, more than $50 million in tax revenue in FY 2014-15, and reduced rates of burglary and homicide.

“Legalizing marijuana has allowed police to focus on real crimes but taken away their excuse for otherwise unjustified searches and seizures,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of criminal justice professionals opposed to the drug war. “Of course some law enforcement officers are going to be upset about that. But I would ask those officers to think about why they joined the force in the first place, why they risk their lives every day just to do their jobs. I doubt many would say it’s to go after low-level drug offenders, whose lives will largely be destroyed in the process and whose communities have come to see police as the enemy. They would say they went into this job because they wanted to protect people, to be heroes, and it’s about time they recognize that that’s the opposite of what they’re doing when they defend current drug policy.”

Public safety remains at the forefront of the marijuana legalization debate, with proponents citing that marijuana is easier for children to obtain where it is illegal, that arrest and conviction records harm users and that marijuana prohibition causes police officers to focus disproportionately on drug crimes, leaving violent crimes often unsolved. For instance, in 2013 there were an estimated 400,000 rape kits in the U.S. that had yet to be tested because drug testing of imprisoned defendants get prioritized over other examinations. The U.S. spends about $51 billion dollars per year on drug enforcement efforts, yet none of the intended goals of drug prohibition have been attained.

Alaska, Washington and Oregon have also legalized recreational marijuana sales. Alaska and Oregon regulators are in the process of writing the rules for how new marijuana businesses will operate there, and Washington has joined Colorado as the second state to safely and successfully sell marijuana legally.

I don’t think that any of the three lawsuits filed against Colorado have any merit, and hopefully will be fruitless. With that being said, I hope members of the American legal system don’t use it as a chance to decide the case on political grounds, rather than legal reasoning. Marijuana legalization has worked in Colorado, and with so many other states either legalizing marijuana, or pursuing marijuana legalization, the momentum keeps growing for nationwide reform. Marijuana opponents like the sheriffs that filed this latest lawsuit will soon go the way of the dinosaur.

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  39 Responses to “Third Lawsuit Filed Against Colorado Marijuana Legalization”

  1.  

    more tantrums from the losers, but when they make millions imprisoning innocent people and we complain, they say that’s just the law. well guess what legal marijuana is the law suck it up and do your job this is a waste of everyones time and money. the country wants regulated marijuana, so the country should get it.

  2.  

    Due diligence would require that these Sheriffs understand the current state of Cannabis research world-wide. Why does it not trouble their conscience to align with the racist hater Know Nothings?

  3.  

    Violating the Constitution? Where in the U.S. Constitution does it say that weed shall be forever banned?

    •  

      Right in that part where it limits the powers of the government to what’s in the Constitution, and clearly gives states the authority for anything not included or amended. Wait…

      The Controlled Substances Act itself was unconstitutional. This is shown directly by the fact that prohibition of alcohol was required by an Amendment and redacted by an Amendment. To blanket declare that personal possession or production of something that you refuse to regulate could potentially affect Interstate Commerce, so you have full power to regulate it, is far beyond the scope and intention of the Interstate Commerce Clause.

      A corrupt Nixon administration gave itself the power, and the current government has proven that it will not take power away from itself no matter how clearly unconstitutional it is.

      •  

        The Controlled Substances Act itself was unconstitutional. This is shown directly by the fact that prohibition of alcohol was required by an Amendment and redacted by an Amendment. To blanket declare that personal possession or production of something that you refuse to regulate could potentially affect Interstate Commerce, so you have full power to regulate it, is far beyond the scope and intention of the Interstate Commerce Clause.

        So potentially we could sue the federal government to strike down the controlled substances act? or at least force marijuana off schedule one? something to think about in the future.

  4.  

    If they are so consent about people health and welfare why are they not fighting the alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries for all the people they kill which are totally legal

  5.  

    And these sheriff’s lack of brain power is showing. We pay them to enforce laws. We do not pay them for their opinion, or their personal beliefs. I guess they just want to make violence against the citizens of this country. They need it prohibited so they have an excuse to wreak their brand of justice they are used to getting away with.

  6.  

    Folks what is happening here is this:

    When first legal they said State would be a haven for crime and lots of accidents and theft and the sky was going to fall in ….. Well we all know Colorado has less crime now than before Leah weed so now the Stupid Idiots who can’t stand it is legal and now shifting and claiming the neighboring States have issues and it is all Colorado’s fault when the real problem lies in the laws of the neighboring States, not Colorado ……

    Update your State Laws and get with the program rather than fight it – it ain’t going away!

    •  

      Yeah I agree with this, if the cops are so concerned and claiming so many problems then why aren’t they suing their own state. By that I mean, isn’t it weird that they point to another state as the problem, instead of lobbying to reduce penalties in their own state. This of course is backed up by the lack of increased crime in Colorado, (I mean they are spouting off about compiling all the data, I’m sure that’s included right?). They claim about upholding the constitution blah blah blah, yet don’t agree with voters. Flat out makes no sense, they should require you pass an I.q test to create a lawsuit….or be a sheriff..

      •  

        Is it (a) People who seek the office of Sheriff in rural counties are so conservative, they think George W. Bush was a flaming liberal (b) Believe they are doing God’s work by arresting and harassing drug-crazed hippies, saving them from the hell of marijuana withdrawal (c) Are unable to see the irony of selectively enforcing state laws, according to their own “personal beliefs.” (d) Need the asset-seizure cash flow from drug busts to fund their armored personnel carrier’s custom “urban camo” paint job or (e) All of the above.

        •  

          Well you forgot (f) Have developed a mental disorder from trying to control aspects of people’s lives who aren’t them, against the greater good of society, human nature, and the spirit of this country after being bullied or controlled their entire life, causing them to seek a career in law enforcement. If that’s factored in, then I select (e).

  7.  

    You truly can see true libertarians or freedom loving Americans these days. Cops want government to come in with guns and flash bang little kids. Then send this non-destructive plant back into the hands of drug lords. What a bunch or morons. Clearly cops are losing money and freaking out. They need Cannabis illegal so they can ruin countless life’s.

  8.  

    Who are they going to sue when they lose this one?? Oregon? Washington (State or DC)? Alaska?….get with the program and suck it up

  9.  

    It has gotten to the point where the only ones who support prohibition any more are those with a direct financial stake in keeping prohibition in place (law enforcement, drug testing companies, “drug treatment” centers, private prisons, etc). Their livelihoods depend on cannabis being illegal because they are part of the prison-industrial-complex. Just follow the money. Prohibition is just about making money off of nonviolent people’s misery and oppression, and that is becoming patently clear to the general public.

    When cannabis is finally legal nationwide, I hope these fascists get fucked good and hard.

    •  

      A+

    •  

      When the law is wrong and bad the people need to stand up to it. I can’t determine why there aren’t numerous (as in overwhelming) lawsuits against the United States for incarcerating people (kidnap and ransom) for using something that should never have been classified as schedule 1 narcotic. This has robbed countless individuals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness along with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars. Not sure why there isn’t a huge class action suit holding responsible all of those whose actions profit from prohibition. Any idea why this hasn’t happened?

  10.  

    The most obvious and simplest way to remove the “constitutional conflict” supposedly created by these state laws is to remove cannabis from the federal controlled substances schedule.

    •  

      There is no constitutional conflict.

      •  

        We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

        “secure the blessings of Liberty and Posterity”

        Our posterity and Liberty is being shunted by the unjust laws on use of cannabis,growing hemp for superior products, and having property stolen and confiscated in a total unjust misuse of police and government power. There is your conflict that you failed to see.

        •  

          The argument of the LEOs is that the legalization causes a Constitutional conflict.

          As I stated there is no Constitutional conflict. Thank you for proving my point.

          It is better to be thought a fool than to open mouth and remove all doubt.
          As well do not attack allies because of your ignorance. Not every cry is against you.

          Peace.

  11.  

    The prohibitionists are starting to swing for the fences, hoping to connect on anything at this point. As this proverbial snowball keeps rolling down the hill I wonder how many more “conservative” opponents will make their last ditch effort to stop our progress.
    There are only one a few reasons that opponents would continue to fight this movement.
    1) They own stock in companies that house prisoners, construction co.s that build prisons, pharmy co.s, tobacco, alcohol, or any other industry that stands to lose revenue from making pot legal.
    2) They are enjoying the cheap and easy money that comes from seizure of property from busting nonviolent users/producers.

    3) They refuse to admit that the science is correct and their antiquated position is wrong regarding the danger and addictive nature of marijuana.
    Anyway you slice it, these feeble attempts at turning back the clock are a waste of time and tax payers’ money and as such perhaps said public officials should be tried for extortion of government funds.

  12.  

    I’ll say it again (for the “xillionth” time.) COUNTERSUIT in CRIMINAL court (vs. for profit prison management businesses and townships which feed into that) to imprison those who wish to incarcerate people who’ve harmed nobody and in CIVIL court (big pharma, for profit prisons, petrochemical, alcohol and other lobbyists for the spoils of prohibition) for all damages related to having any criminal record based on the crime of holding people against their will (kidnapping?) for enjoying or using something which has no factual basis to be listed federally as a schedule 1 narcotic. When will “we the people” take a stand against this preposterous theft of our rights?

  13.  

    If my memory serves me right wasn’t it a couple of years ago that sheriffs in Colorado came out against a firearms magazine limiting the size or capacity of magazines. I think several sheriffs here on the western slope of Colorado were quoted as saying that if federal law was enacted limiting the capacity of magazines then they were not going to enforce those regulations. This is hypocrisy at the county level , the fact of the matter is that cannabis was responsible for a large portion of revenue for the counties and instead of concentrating on real crimes,ie; property crimes, mexican cartels flooding Colorado with Herion and Meth with no end in sight te sheriffs want to go back to concentrating on ” low hanging fruit” instead of working the real criminal threats to our society. What we need to do is quit electing these Neanderthal , lazy ,Taliban. Police and put forth real law officers who will concentrate on serving the citizens of Colorado and not serving against democracy. We the people sign their pay checks and we should never let these public servants forget it! Get off your ass right now ,register to vote and vote ,organize,organize,organize against ignorance!!!

  14.  

    First of all the Colorado sheriff is an state or county and or city employee. He, they are not federal marshes they have to follow state law or vacate there post. Because no matter what your views on Marijuana any officer that dies not follow the law is violating that law.
    For these sheriffs and other states wasting court time when the federal government has already said Marijuana is a state issue is pathetic

  15.  

    The anti-cannabis sentiment among law enforcement personnel is not surprising. When asked why so many police organizations are lobbying against marijuana law reform, retired Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Stephen Downing said:

    It’s money. In many states, the city government expects police to make seizures, and they expect these seizures to supplement their budgets.”
    “The only difference now compared to the times of alcohol prohibition is that, in the times of alcohol prohibition, law enforcement—the police and judges—got their money in brown paper bags. Today, they get their money through legitimate, systematic programs run by the federal government. That’s why they’re using their lobbying organizations to fight every reform.

    Legalizing cannabis would greatly cut into their income, be it from cash seizures, asset forfeitures, federal grants, etc. It would also take away a common excuse to do a warrantless search. Many cops justify their anti-cannabis stance by falling for the rampant, unfounded anti-cannabis propaganda that continues to plague this nation.

    If you would like hear what honest, reasonable cops have to say about the drug war in general, please visit:

    LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibitionhttp://www.leap.cc/ – ‘Cops Say Legalize

    LEAP envisions a world in which drug policies work for the benefit of society and keep our communities safer. A system of legalization and regulation will end the violence, better protect human rights, safeguard our children, reduce crime and disease, treat drug abusers as patients, reduce addiction, use tax dollars more efficiently, and restore the public’s respect and trust in law enforcement.
    LEAP’s goals are: (1) To educate the public, the media and policy makers about the failure of current drug policy by presenting a true picture of the history, causes and effects of drug use and the elevated crime rates more properly related to drug prohibition than to drug pharmacology and (2) To restore the public’s respect for police, which has been greatly diminished by law enforcements involvement in imposing drug prohibition.

    •  

      Well said and you hit the bullseye.

    •  

      Well said, it’s money and easy arrests. Police love drug laws; most arrests aren’t even the result of an investigation. Cops just drive around looking for someone that they want to mess over. Search a few cars on Saturday night and you’ll find something. Easy felony arrest, and hardly ever a trial. They take a plea, and carry that felony record for the rest of their lives.

  16.  

    Who’s money are they using to bring this lawsuit to bear against the state? I doubt it’s coming out of their own private pockets.

  17.  

    Aww, they’re scared that their “Work” will dry up and cause layoffs. They’re upset because they’re used to their job being easy and picking the lower hanging fruit is drying up and they will finally have to do real police work.

  18.  

    every name on that lawsuit should be voted out next election…..problem solved

  19.  

    The Boulder Camera had an interesting article on the subject yesterday. Among other things, it quoted the Boulder County DA as saying this lawsuit was “silly.” The Boulder Sheriff pointed out there is nothing in the constitution that requires local Sheriffs to enforce federal laws, for example, immigration, BLM laws, and so forth. I can’t imagine this will ever get to court.

  20.  

    Since the sheriffs are for destroying Constitutional rights of those who use cannabis, charges should be levied upon them.

  21.  

    Police know exactly what happens to young, non-violent, drug offenders when they get to prison. Police should be the first to speak out against marijuana prohibition. But of course they care more about their own jobs than protecting the citizens who’s lives are destroyed by this unjust system.

  22.  

    Too bad all the weed going into these ANAL states is coming from California not Colorado

  23.  

    Colorado drug enforcement finally has to go after actual dangerous criminals rather than stoners.

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