Sunday, December 21, 2014

Two Dumb States File Pot Lawsuit Against Colorado - Can You Believe It?

Question: Does the oft misrepresented principle of "states' rights"* mean that a couple states can overturn the voting preferences and state amendments cast by a neighbor state? If I represent Louisiana can I file a lawsuit against Mississippi for not using its educational funds properly - or building too many casinos? If I live in a gun control state like New York can I file a lawsuit against a state like Virginia because too many guns purchased there are ending up in NYC with dire consequences?  If I live in Nebraska and Oklahoma can I file a joint lawsuit against Colorado because "too much retail marijuana is flowing into our states and we can't control it....BWHAHAHAHHAA!"

Clearly not  - because if all those things could happen, then we'd have chaos from coast to coast. Each dumb state (that would actually believe it can inveigh on another's voting priorities- which entails issues of states' prerogatives* not rights) would demolish the fabric of the country by continually undermining the ballots cast by citizens in other states to promote or legalize assorted behaviors, actions..

Yet when I picked up The Denver Post Friday, there on the front page - midway down- was the headline:

'Nebraska, Oklahoma Sue Colorado Over Pot Law'

And even wifey, currently suffering from the H3 N2 variant of flu could only scream - mostly through her nose:


Well, probably more dumb than nuts if they really think they can get this before the Supreme Court and win..  I mean, good god, what a couple of dumbo whiners! SO you're too cheap to spend the needed money to enforce your own repressive anti-pot laws and so you blame Colorado for your woes? What are YOU smoking?

Even the Post in its editorial yesterday called this effort bullocks since the two states couldn't even quantify the alleged damage they're suffering. For example, how many total ounces (or pounds)  exactly are transiting into their states from CO in a given month or year?  (Which would clearly disclose violation of the part of CO law prohibiting cross-state transport of MJ.) Unless they can quantify the extent of injury  it's basically an empty complaint and has no legal heft. I'd even go as far as to assert their evidence is wholly anecdotal, not even rising to the level of 'circumstantial'.

The technical wording of their grievance according to the Post::

"Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining Plaintiff' states own marijuana laws, draining their treasuries and placing stress on their criminal justice systems."

Oh, BWWAHHAHAHAHHAAAA! Mayhap you have too damn many laws to enforce, and IF - I say IF you backed off, especially on the pot laws, you'd need less money to lock people up or enforce your dumb, overly restrictive laws. (See my Dec 7th  post, 'Yes, We Have Too Damned Many Laws').

Fortunately, our attorney general, John Suthers(a Republican, btw) is prepared to go to the wall on this gibberish, even though he himself was never a fan of Colorado Amendment 64  which  gave the green light to set up pot retail shops two years ago. But at least Suthers respects the law and the will of the people (56 percent of CO voters affirmed the passage of 64, including a slim majority in conservative El Paso County).  As he noted (ibid.)

"It appears the plaintiffs' primary grievance stems from non-enforcement of 'federal laws regarding marijuana as opposed to choices made by the voters of Colorado'"

Which is spot on correct. But merely because those 2 regressive states - among many other Red states, choose not to challenge the federal law (placing MJ on the controlled substances list)  and refuse to put up their own amendments, doesn't mean they have license to take down Colorado's.  And if the funds are too steep for all the pot enforcement they desire, well hell, do what CO did and enact higher state and excise taxes to pay for the MJ you allow. But don't whine on about Colorado's amendment and how it's straining your treasuries.

Anyway, AG Suthers is prepared to go to the mat on this, as he should be - as defender of Colorado laws, even those with which he might disagree. Meanwhile, Robert Mikos of Vanderbilt University - an expert on the intersection of federal power and state MJ laws, has noted (ibid.)  that "Oklahoma and Nebraska can't simply force Colorado to join their fight" - e.g. against any use of MJ. He also added that "congress can't force states to criminalize marijuana".

As for the Supreme Court, it is more likely than not they are sane and rational enough (one hopes!)  to see things as Prof. Mikos does. If, OTOH,  they acknowledged these two states'  egregious claim of CO violating the "Supremacy clause" then all states had better watch out for what they put on ballots. My guess, like Suthers, is that the SC will dismiss this lawsuit for the empty bollocks it is and deal with real, substantive matters.

* States have prerogatives, not rights, because states exist as governmental entities not as persons-individuals. Prof. Garry Wills (‘A Necessary Evil: A History Of American Distrust of Government’, Simon & Schuster, 1999)

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