Colorado sheriffs trying to overturn pot legalization

Apparently not everyone is high on the new legalized pot situation in Colorado, pun intended. A group of Sheriffs are going to court to try to turn the maryjane train around.

A group of sheriffs will file a lawsuit Thursday against Colorado for its legal marijuana law.

The lawsuit says legalizing pot on a state level while it’s still illegal on a federal one creates a “crisis of conscience,” USA Today reports.

Colorado is “asking every peace officer to violate their oath,” Larimer County, Colo., Sheriff Justin Smith, the lead plaintiff in the suit, said. “What we’re being forced to do … makes me ineligible for office. Which constitution are we supposed to uphold?”

The officers are also noting the economic impact on law enforcement officials in neighboring states, where arrest rates and overtime work are on the rise as they deal with the flood of Colorado pot coming over the borders. (Though I’m not entirely sure if they have standing to raise that point.)

The “which constitution” question is an interesting one. There are any number of examples where something may be either illegal or restricted in some fashion in various states but not be technically a violation of a federal law. (Which is completely proper, of course.) But I’m having a hard time locating other examples of things which are violations of federal law but are legal at the state level, at least in terms of crimes which would be committed by individuals. There are federal regulations imposed by entities like the EPA which are not similarly regulated at the state level, but those are typically leveled at businesses or local governments.

Even so, I’m also wondering what the legal mechanics are here and what exactly the sheriffs are challenging. It’s one thing to challenge a law which is passed and you feel is unconstitutional, but can you challenge a lack of a law? We’ll wait to see the full filing and have some lawyers weigh in on it, but this will be an unusual case to say the least.

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Ed Morrissey 10:01 AM on December 06, 2022