CO, WA, OR Attorneys General File Responses to Rec Lawsuit

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Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman filed a formal response with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday regarding a lawsuit from the attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma, who are asking the nation’s high court to nullify Colorado’s recreational marijuana law.

The Washington and Oregon state attorneys general also filed a joint “friend of the court” brief in support of Colorado’s position on the suit.

The plaintiffs allege that Colorado’s rec industry has resulted in a spike in illegal cannabis trafficking across state lines.

Coffman blasted the lawsuit as an “attempt to selectively manipulate Colorado’s marijuana laws,” and poked holes in the arguments presented. She noted that the suit only targets the state’s rec law, “although medical marijuana makes up over half of the state’s $700 million marijuana industry and, like recreational marijuana, is also vulnerable to out-of-state diversion.”

“(Nebraska and Oklahoma) seek to strike down the laws and regulations that are designed to channel demand away from this black market and into a licensed and closely monitored retail system,” Coffman wrote. “They suggest that the federal government will backfill the resulting regulatory vaccuum, even though the Presidential Administration has indicated that it lacks the resources and the inclination to fully enforce the federal marijuana ban.”

She also pointed out that if the court sided with Nebraska and Oklahoma, rec cannabis would still remain legal, but there would be no regulatory system in place to oversee the industry.

Discussing the joint amicus brief, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement, “If the Supreme Court takes the unfortunate step of agreeing to hear this case, it will threaten every state’s ability to make its own decisions about how best to regulate marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes.”

Separately, Coffman sympathized with the Nebraska’s and Oklahoma’s concerns regarding illegal drug trafficking activity, and issued a statement underscoring her office’s commitment to ending marijuana diversion.