Sheriffs from Colorado and neighboring states Kansas and Nebraska filed a lawsuit that asks a federal court in Denver to strike down Colorado’s Amendment 64 that legalized the sale of recreational marijuana and to close the state’s more than 330 licensed marijuana stores. Lead plaintiff, Larimer County, Colo., Sheriff Justin Smith, calls the case a “constitutional showdown.” Each day, he says, he must decide whether to violate the Colorado Constitution or the U.S. Constitution. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana sales Jan. 1, 2014, but marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. Colorado is “asking every peace officer to violate their oath,” Smith said. “What we’re being forced to do … makes me ineligible for office. Which constitution are we supposed to uphold?” The out-of-state sheriffs say the flow of Colorado’s legal marijuana across the border has increased drug arrests, overburdened police and courts and cost them money in overtime.
Lawyers for cities and counties warned of potential legal action as they continue to press the Oregon Legislature to rewrite the marijuana measure approved by voters last November. The local governments want the ability to levy their own taxes on retail marijuana sales, and they want more latitude to prohibit local sales altogether. They argued that even under state law, cities and counties have the ability to go around Measure 91 to levy taxes. Sponsors of the initiative say they banned local taxes to ensure that retail prices stay low enough to compete with the black market. And they argue that only local voters – not a city or county council – should be able to decide to ban local pot sales. Measure 91 says that retail sales can only be banned in a city or county if local voters gather enough signatures to place the measure on the November general election ballot.
A D.C. Council committee on Wednesday unanimously advanced legislation to ban employers in the nation’s capital from testing prospective employees for marijuana until after a job offer is made. But the law won’t free employees to light up without consequences. Employers will retain the right to screen for drugs after making a job offer — and to enforce their own drug policies with employees. “It’s time for employers and employees to get used to the idea of marijuana being legal,” said DC Delegate Vincent B. Orange. Nothing in Orange’s bill upends the prohibition on federal workers using marijuana. Government contractors who must certify a drug-free workforce and those who hire for sensitive security positions could continue to test for marijuana before extending a job offer. Employers also could still set their own terms for employment and require random or periodic drug testing of employees.
Lawmakers in Rhode Island are expected to introduce a bill into the state legislature today that would legalize marijuana for recreational use and create a legal retail market in the state for the sale and taxation of the leafy commodity. Under the proposed law, called the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act, adults 21 years old and older would be able to grow one mature marijuana plant and possess up to one ounce of pot. The law would permit pot shops and growing facilities to apply for licenses with the Department of Business Regulation. State Sen. Joshua Miller said in an emailed statement. “Marijuana prohibition is an ineffective and wasteful policy, and we cannot afford to ignore it any longer. The legislature is perfectly capable of creating a system that will work for Rhode Island.” Similar bills were recently introduced in Georgia, Texas and Vermont.
A Volusia County, Florida, Sheriff’s deputy shot an unarmed man in the face while serving a marijuana warrant on Wednesday. Deputies say Derek Cruice, 26, resisted arrest during the incident at his Deltona, Florida home. Cruice’s friends, six of whom were at the house when a SWAT team entered, called the fatal shooting “murder.” At 6:32 a.m., Deputy Todd Raible, 36, fired one shot, hitting Cruice in the face as he stood inside the doorway, police told WFTV. Cruice was pronounced dead a short time later at an area hospital. The sheriff’s department confirmed that Cruice was unarmed at the time. Roommate Steven Cochran said Cruice wasn’t wearing a shirt at the time of the shooting, and didn’t pose a threat of carrying a concealed weapon. The sheriff’s office allegedly recovered 217 grams of marijuana at the home, along with a scale, pipes, plastic bags and about $3,000 in cash.