The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
Cutting Edge Online Payment Technologies in 2024
April 16, 2024

Businesses worldwide are quickly embracing advanced payment methods to stay ahead in the tight market competition. These methods not only...

Amendment 64 challenged by lawsuits from Larimer sheriff and neighboring states

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith joined forces with other sheriffs and filed a lawsuit to resolve the dispute over legal marijuana in Colorado. The case was filed in federal district court in Denver March 5.

Smith claims that the legalization of marijuana has created a constitution conflict for sheriffs. In the Colorado constitution, there is a section that lays out the guidelines of being a sheriff.

Ad

“In that law, it says that a sheriff that violates a federal law can no longer hold office, whether it’s under U.S. law or state law,” Smith said. “What 64 requires in one part of the constitution actually are acts that make us ineligible to be a sheriff.”

On the grounds that Amendment 64 violates the Supremacy Clause, which states that federal law trumps state law, Smith hopes to resolve the conflict of the two statutes in court.

Smith is not the first to file a suit against Colorado for violating federal law. Nebraska and Oklahoma also filed a case in the Supreme Court.

“We came together in this because we have a common concern,” Smith said. “Those sheriffs are making the claim that the Colorado sourced marijuana crimes have increased since legalization.”

The two neighboring states argue that this is an issue of interstate commerce and that marijuana has been illegally crossing borders. The Commerce Clause, drafted for the constitution, gives congress the power to regulate trade with foreign nations and within the states.

Alex Myslajek, a senior at CSU studying mechanical engineering, believes Smith is out of his jurisdiction.

“I really don’t think that it’s up to him,” Myslajek said. “If it’s pure democracy and if that’s how the public is going to vote on the issue, then that’s how things should be reasoned out.”

In 2012, Colorado voted on Amendment 64. In Larimer County, 55 percent were in favor and 45 percent opposed, according to the county-specific results.

Smith said that the issue of legalization goes beyond exercising the right to personal use of marijuana.

Ad

“When Amendment 64 was created it didn’t simply decriminalize marijuana, it mandated its state and its counties to acknowledge that as a right,” Smith said. “We turn that onto an individual who has the right to possess and sell marijuana and they get burglarized and get robbed five pounds. We have to investigate that crime, and if it’s resolved we have to return that paraphernalia. In order to uphold that right I’m violating felony criminal laws.”

Some community members argue that the benefits of Amendment 64 outweigh the problems.

“That’s bull****,” said Steve Bashaquis, a CSU freshman studying sociology. “It’s brought in so much money and a lot of it’s going to schools. I don’t know what he thinks is so troublesome about it.”

Collegian Reporter Veronica Baas can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @vcbaas.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *