Supreme Court Backs Colorado, Nixes Neighboring State’s Lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court this week handed pro-marijuana states a 6-2 victory against litigation from neighboring non-marijuana states. Nebraska and Oklahoma argued that Colorado’s law violates the federal Controlled Substances Act, which treats marijuana as a dangerous drug and forbids its sale or use. They urged the Supreme Court to take up the issue as an “original” matter and declare that Colorado’s law was preempted by the federal drug laws.

The Los Angeles Times explains that “… usually, the high court hears appeals from lower-court rulings. But on rare occasions, the justices are called upon to decide disputes between states. Typically, however, these ‘original’ suits involve disagreements over boundaries or the use of river water that flows from one state to another.

The Times also noted that “… the suit brought by Nebraska and Oklahoma also implicitly challenged the Obama administration for its refusal to intervene more directly in Colorado.
Since California’s voters in 1996 authorized medical use of marijuana, 22 other states have adopted similar measures. Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska went further and allowed for the production and sale of marijuana for recreational use.”

“The state of Colorado authorizes, oversees, protects and profits from a sprawling $100-million-per-month marijuana growing, processing and retailing organization that exported thousands of pounds of marijuana to some 36 states in 2014,” the states argued. “If this entity were based south of our border, the federal government would prosecute it as a drug cartel.”

Read the Times report here:
Supreme Court rejects challenge to Colorado marijuana law from other states

Colorado Has Longest Immigration Court Delay: 933 days, 9K cases pending

ap_120625039355

Demonstrating for immigrant rights in Arizona. Photo credit, Colorado Public Radio report, 3/3/16

Colorado Public Radio is reporting that the Mile High State “… now has the longest delays in the nation for immigrants trying to have their cases heard before an immigration judge. The average waiting period is 933 days, and there are 9,420 cases pending.”

The network asks Denver immigration attorney Jennifer Casey to explain the situation while noting that it “… could get worse given the immigration-crackdown rhetoric in this political campaign season.”
Her initial comment: “If you look at the immigration courts over the last three years in Colorado, what we’ve seen is a reduction by about 50 percent of the immigration judges here locally. So we went from six judges in 2013 and we’re now down to three judges in 2016.”

The attorney also offers some background: “So, 50 percent reduction in immigration judges, 20 percent increase in cases and then the third factor is that the immigration courts nationally have prioritized certain cases above other cases. So we’ve got a priority docket and those are individuals who have entered the U.S. recently, specifically since May of 2014, who are either unaccompanied children or families with children. Mostly we’re talking about women and children but not exclusively.”
Of course, she also notes that the long delays benefit those with weaker cases to remain in the United States while hurting those with the better cases, because they cannot get a court date to win legal status.

– See more at: Why Denver’s Immigration Court Has The Longest Hearing Delays In The US

First Marijuana RICO Case, Colorado Hotel Claims Lost Business in Civil Suit

Civil lawsuits continue to muddy the waters in states that have legalized marijuana, with a new Colorado case asserting that selling weed nearby has hurt business at a Holiday Inn. The Summit Daily News is reporting that “… nearly three months after two heartland states sued Colorado in federal court, a Frisco dispensary is now at the epicenter of the first-ever racketeering lawsuit filed against a marijuana business since the advent of legal weed.
 
On Thursday, the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Safe Streets Alliance named Medical Marijuana of the Rockies as one of 12 defendants in a federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case.”
 
The newspaper said that “… Safe Streets sponsored the lawsuit in partnership with co-plaintiff New Vision Hotels, the Colorado Springs company that owns the Frisco Holiday Inn. Frisco is a tourist-intensive mountain town just west of Denver.
 
Also from the SDN: “This is really the only course of action left for the hotel,” said Brian Barnes, the plaintiffs’ spokesman and one of several attorneys working the case. “They weren’t sure of other options available to them, and the reality is that when people talk about marijuana being legal in Colorado, it is still illegal in the United States and selling marijuana is against the law. They have a legal right to not be injured by that activity.”
 
The Holiday Inn managers had previously asked the Frisco Town Council to deny the license to the marijuana merchants who wanted to operate about 75 yards from the hotel entrance. The SDN reported that “… hotel representatives argued that a prospective marijuana dispensary has already harmed business, citing cancellations from several youth ski teams after the town council debates made national news.”
 
Read the story here.