Republicans in Nebraska and Oklahoma, jealous of the staggering profits that the state of Colorado is raking in from legalized marijuana taxes, have attempted to rain on their neighbor’s parade – but were resoundingly rebuffed by the Supreme Court today. A lawsuit filed by the states accuses Colorado’s legal pot of provoking a rise in marijuana smuggling and whatever “pot crime” might be: “If this entity were based south of our border, the federal government would prosecute it as a drug cartel” charged the brief.
The Supreme Court, however, clearly does not believe that marijuana smuggling is an issue of national importance and refused to hear the arguments proposed by the Republican states. While Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented, the rest of the court were not impressed by the efforts of Republican states to rewrite the laws of their neighbors.
“Colorado does not intend, nor has it attempted, to reach across the border to invade the plaintiff states’ sovereign rights. Indeed, it is Colorado’s sovereignty that is at stake here: Nebraska and Oklahoma filed this case in an attempt to reach across their borders and selectively invalidate state laws with which they disagree” argued Colorado’s brief.
It is a huge win for legalization advocates and for the state of Colorado, whose legalized marijuana made the state $76 million in profits last year. The money from those taxes is being used to invest in their citizens, funding schools, scholarships, and drug abuse prevention programs. It’s a very appropriate slap in the face to the envious squares in Nebraska and Oklahoma, trying to tarnish the successes of a liberal state and impose their own archaic and oppressive values on other states.
It might have something to do with the fact that Nebraska and Oklahoma have ruined their state economies with destructive experiments in Tea Party economics that are divorced from reality and inherently designed to funnel money to the richest Americans. Oklahoma is facing a staggering $1.3 billion budget deficit this year, losing $57 million in revenue to a tax cut for the wealthiest of Oklahomans and another $400 million in tax incentives for fracking companies. Nebraska only has to make up $132 million in shortfall.
On the other hand, Colorado is enjoying a $257 million budget surplus. The contrast couldn’t be more stark – Republican economics ruin budgets; liberal policies make for efficient and profitable economies that have enough money left over to invest in their citizens. We applaud the Supreme Court for insisting that Nebraska and Oklahoma mind their own business and for sending a tacit endorsement of legalized marijuana.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.