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Legal marijuana in Colorado has sparked a battle with other states that’s heading to court. Nebraska and Oklahoma are suing Colorado, claiming that state-regulated recreational pot shops are bringing more marijuana into their communities than ever before and contributing to a huge increase in crime.
The lawsuit is being brought forth by Nebraska’s attorney general, Jon Bruning, and Oklahoma’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt. Neither state will look to overturn the portion of Amendment 64 that makes marijuana legal for personal use in Colorado, but both believe Colorado officials have made it easy for pot to readily flow across state lines.
Police have noticed a “significant influx of Colorado-sourced marijuana” flowing into both Nebraska and Oklahoma. The lawsuit also expresses concern that Colorado has no way of preventing “criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels from acquiring marijuana inventory directly from retail marijuana stores.”
Nebraska and Oklahoma believe that consumers can easily stock up on pot because they’re not required to smoke or eat it immediately after purchasing it.
Sheriffs in bordering states have reported finding marijuana products from multiple outlets during routine traffic stops. They’ve also taken issue with legal marijuana buyers not being required to undergo background checks or tracking the drug once it’s sold.
…the lawsuit alleges Nebraska and Oklahoma have dealt with more arrests, more impounded vehicles and higher jail and court costs.
The two states claim that tackling marijuana coming in from Colorado has been a drain on their resources. Since pot became legal for recreational use in the state last January, the lawsuit alleges Nebraska and Oklahoma have dealt with more arrests, more impounded vehicles and higher jail and court costs. Law enforcement officials have also been forced to spend more time addressing these cases.
Colorado’s attorney general, John Suthers (R), said the lawsuit was “without merit” and vowed that the state will “vigorously defend” their pot policies. Marijuana advocates have also opposed the lawsuit because shutting down legal retailers could increase illegal drug trading on the streets.
“If Nebraska and Oklahoma succeed, they will put the violent criminal organizations back in charge,” Michael Elliott, the executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group.
Colorado raked in $2 million in marijuana taxes during its first month of legalization, with $14 million worth of pot sold. It’s expected that the state could pocket $40 million from legal marijuana sales by this summer.
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