Press Release

Feds Ask SCOTUS to Dismiss Nebraska-Oklahoma Lawsuit Challenging Colorado Marijuana Laws

Dec 16, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Contact: Violet Cavendish

Federal Government Urges Supreme Court to NOT Hear Nebraska and Oklahoma’s Lawsuit Challenging Colorado’s Marijuana Regulation Laws

Brief filed Wednesday by the Solicitor General asks the court to dismiss the case because ‘it would represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of this Court’s original jurisdiction’

* Statement below from MPP’s Mason Tvert, who co-directed the 2012 Colorado marijuana initiative campaign * 


WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a brief filed Wednesday by the Solicitor General, the U.S. government urged the Supreme Court to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma challenging Colorado’s marijuana regulation laws.

Nebraska and Oklahoma filed the lawsuit directly with the Supreme Court in December 2014, arguing that the state’s decision to regulate the cultivation and distribution of marijuana was “placing stress on their criminal justice systems.” In May, the court asked Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. for his opinion on the lawsuit.

According to the brief filed by Verrilli on Wednesday:

“The motion for leave to file a bill of complaint should be denied because this is not an appropriate case for the exercise of this Court’s original jurisdiction. Entertaining the type of dispute at issue here — essentially that one State’s laws make it more likely that third parties will violate federal and state law in another State — would represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of this Court’s original jurisdiction.”

Statement from Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project and a co-director of the 2012 Colorado marijuana initiative:

“This is a meritless and, quite frankly, ludicrous lawsuit. We hope the court will agree with the solicitor general that it’s not something it should be spending its time addressing. These states are literally trying to prevent Colorado from controlling marijuana within its own borders. If officials in Nebraska and Oklahoma want to have a prohibition-fueled marijuana free-for-all in their states, that’s their prerogative. But most Coloradans would prefer to see marijuana regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.”


Founded in 1995, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization. MPP has played a central role in passing dozens of cannabis policy reforms in states across the country, including 10 successful cannabis legalization campaigns, and also works to advance federal reforms.

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