Sheriffs Try to Stop Legal Weed In Colorado

By May Wilkerson 03/06/15

A group of "conscience"-minded sheriffs have filed a lawsuit to overturn Amendment 64.

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A group of sheriffs are suing the state to overturn Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana on January 1, 2014. The lawsuit filed this week by sheriffs from Colorado and neighboring states claims that the law has led to a “crisis of conscience,” since marijuana remains illegal under federal law, USA Today reports.

By permitting citizens to use pot, the state is “asking every peace officer to violate their oath,” said Colorado Sheriff Justin Smith, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. “What we’re being forced to do…makes me ineligible for office. Which constitution are we supposed to uphold?"

The suit also claims that the law is costing neighboring Nebraska and Kansas money in police overtime and court fees, since there has been a spike in drug-related arrests due to legal weed seeping across state borders.

In the town of Chappell, Neb., just north of the Colorado border, felony drug arrests rose 400% since 2012, according to a recent USA Today report.

Colorado has not responded to this lawsuit, or to a similar suit filed last year by attorneys general in Nebraska and Oklahoma. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has said that it would adopt a largely hands-off approach in states that have legalized marijuana, as long as the drug is regulated and kept away from children.

Legalization advocates like Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project argue that these lawsuits are attempts to halt the trend of legalization and that police should focus on more serious crimes. "These guys are on the wrong side of history," Tvert said.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.