Thursday, March 5, 2015

Marijuana: Sheriffs in Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas sue Hickenlooper

Posted By on Thu, Mar 5, 2015 at 3:14 PM

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It's my personal belief that lawsuits like the ones we've seen come in recent weeks will force the federal government's hand in rescheduling marijuana.

We'll see whether that's true or not, but in the meantime, new Attorney General Cynthia Coffman's going to be very busy: Announced today was another lawsuit against the state, this time filed by six Colorado sheriffs, and several from Kansas and Nebraska.

“Amendment 64 creates a constitutional challenge for all our sheriffs,” says Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith in a press release. “All sheriffs in Colorado swear an Oath of Office to protect both the U.S. and the Colorado Constitutions. Amendment 64 renders that oath impossible by forcing us to choose which Constitution we will protect.

"By violating our oaths of office, we commit acts that render us ineligible to hold our offices. The authors of Amendment 64 either did not understand this constitutional showdown, or they intentionally hid the fact from our voters.”

University of Denver law professor Sam Kamin told the Denver Post that no law requires the sheriffs to enforce federal law.

"Of the four [lawsuits], this is the one with the least merit," the paper quoted Kamin as saying. "They have targeted not just the [marijuana store] regulation piece but they're also essentially saying Colorado can't legalize marijuana. No one has ever gone that far."

The Gazette reported El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder was not asked to join the suit.

For whatever it's worth, Attorney General Coffman, who just replaced Colorado Springs mayoral candidate John Suthers in the office, recently made comments that won't exactly inspire confidence in pro-marijuana circles.

“Don’t buy that argument,” she recently said about marijuana legalization cutting into the black market. “The criminals are still selling on the black market. ... We have plenty of cartel activity in Colorado [and] plenty of illegal activity that has not decreased at all.

"It’s not worth it."

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