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Breaking: Supreme Court Throws Out Lawsuit Challenging Cannabis Legalization

The cannabis industry in Colorado can finally exhale. After much delay, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has decided not to hear a lawsuit against Colorado that could have overturned marijuana legalization.

In December 2014, Nebraska and Oklahoma filed a lawsuit claiming that Colorado's legal marijuana industry was fuelling black markets in their states, making it harder and costlier for them to enforce cannabis prohibition. If SCOTUS heard the case and ruled in their favor, the case could have opened the door to challenges against Washington state, Oregon, Alaska, Washington, D.C and the states hoping to legalize marijuana in 2016.

In December 2015, the Obama administration urged SCOTUS to throw out the lawsuit. And the majority of justices have done just that.

On Mar. 21, the SCOTUS announced that it would not hear the case. But the decision wasn't unanimous: Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented. Writing on behalf of himself and Alito, Thomas argued that the court should have heard the case because "the plaintiff states have made a reasonable case."

That means the legal states are safe for now, but more challenges could come in the future unless the federal government either repeals federal marijuana prohibition (as Bernie Sanders promises to do), or legally acknowledges each state's right to legalize (by passing this bill, for example).

If you want to read more about Nebraska and Oklahoma's case against Colorado, check out this article.

h/t NBC News


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