OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Citing concerns that it could undermine their own state’s fight to govern themselves under the 10th Amendment, several Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma are urging Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt to drop his lawsuit against the state of Colorado’s legalization of marijuana.
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The lawsuit, titled States of Nebraska and Oklahoma v. State of Colorado, was filed in December by Pruitt and Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and asks the United States Supreme Court to strike down Colorado’s law legalizing marijuana on the basis that it is “fundamentally at odds” with the federal Controlled Substances Act.
 
The suit, filed directly with the US Supreme Court, alleges that marijuana is being diverted into their states from Colorado, causing plaintiffs to suffer “irreparable injury.”
 
In a letter obtained by the Huffington Post, seven Republican state lawmakers say the lawsuit is the “wrong way” to deal with concerns that legal marijuana from Colorado is being diverted to Oklahoma, where marijuana possession remains illegal.
 
“Our primary concerns surround the implications of this lawsuit for states’ rights, the Tenth Amendment, and the ability of states and citizens to govern themselves as they see fit,” lawmakers write in the letter authored by state Rep. Mike Ritze (R-District 80).
 
“Oklahoma has been a pioneer and a leader in standing up to federal usurpations of power on everything from gun control to Obamacare and beyond,” the letter continues. “We believe this lawsuit against our sister state has the potential, if it were to be successful at the Supreme Court, to undermine all of those efforts to protect our own state’s right to governitself under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
 
The lawmakers argue that the best move would be for Pruitt’s office to “quietly drop the action against Colorado, and if necessary, defend [Colorado’s] right to set its own policies as we would hope other states would defend our right to govern ourselves.”
 
Lawmakers added that if the United States Supreme Court sides with Oklahoma in the lawsuit and force the state of Colorado to re-criminalize marijuana, the decision could indirectly “force Oklahoma to criminalize a wide range of goods and activities.”
 
The letter concludes that “attempting to undermine the sovereignty of a neighboring state using the federal courts” is not “a wise use of Oklahoma’s limited state resources.”
 
They also added that if the lawsuit is eventually heard by the US Supreme Court, they would consider filing an amicus brief on behalf of the state of Colorado.
 
The letter was co-signed by state Representatives Lewis Moore, John Bennett, Mike Christian and Dan Fisher, and state Senators Ralph Shortey and Nathan Dahm.
 
“This is not about marijuana at its core — it is about the U.S. Constitution, the Tenth Amendment, and the right of states to govern themselves as they see fit,” said Rep. Ritze in a statement about the letter.
 
“Our Founding Fathers intended the states to be laboratories of self-government, free to tinker and experiment with different ideas. The founders, from Jefferson to Madison, were also strong proponents of states nullifying unconstitutional federal actions. If the people of Colorado want to end prohibition of marijuana, while I may personally disagree with the decision, constitutionally speaking, they are entitled to do so.”
 
Thomas H. Clarke The Daily Chronic

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