Marijuana Legalization: Did The Supreme Court Make Weed Legal Across America?

Marijuana legalization at the federal level has been the dream of many in the cannabis industry, but some say that the Supreme Court's neutral decision about the Oklahoma/Nebraska versus Colorado case on March 21 is not final. Instead, while they may not be giving an absolute decision about federal legalization of marijuana across America, the Supreme Court not hearing the case at all keeps the current state-related marijuana laws intact for the moment.

Of course, this is a sensitive issue considering all of the presidential candidates for 2016 are supporting marijuana legalization to some degree, according to Rolling Stone. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, "The Obama administration, asked by the court for its opinion, had recommended the lawsuit be dismissed."

As far as regular citizens looking to invest in marijuana legalization, if the Supreme Court ever decides to legalize it at the federal level, it could mean many would likely see a significant return on any funds they set aside. However, Cheat Sheet points out that the areas to invest in with marijuana legalization might differ from what the public assumes is a wise nest egg.

For example, cannabis industry consultant Scott Greiper said "the biotech space," "infused products, cultivation and retail, real estate, software," and "medical research" would be hot investments if the Supreme Court voted for federal marijuana legalization.

Marijuana Legalization at the federal level on hold
Marijuana legalization nationwide remains undecided by the Supreme Court because they declined to hear the case altogether. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Naturally, the idea that federally legalizing marijuana would mean currently prohibited activities (like conducting marijuana scientific research) would be done for good had many people following the March 21 Supreme Court case.

When the Supreme Court case was first introduced, Colorado was being sued by Nebraska and Oklahoma because they have legal recreational marijuana legalization. States bordering Colorado said they were having law enforcement issues because Colorado was flooding their state with illegal marijuana.

In particular, NBC News reports that the other states were suing because "Colorado's approach, they argued, is in direct conflict with federal law, which makes it illegal to possess even small amounts of marijuana."

When the court case went to the Supreme Court, it was assumed that if the Supreme Court favored Colorado, it would mean promising things for legalizing marijuana across America.

To be factually correct, the Supreme Court did not vote for or against the lawsuit but instead "declined to comment" or "made no comment in dismissing the lawsuit the states filed directly at the top court against their neighbor," according to the New York Times.

On the other hand, there are reports that federal marijuana legalization via the Colorado versus Oklahoma/Nebraska lawsuit could be voted on by the Supreme Court eventually... perhaps in 2017.

For example, one report from the Washington Times says Justice Clarence Thomas feels the lawsuit should be reviewed in the future and stated the following about the Colorado marijuana legalization issue:

"The plaintiff states have alleged significant harms to their sovereign interests caused by another state. Whatever the merit of the plaintiff states' claims, we should let this complaint proceed further rather than denying leave without so much as a word of explanation."
In other words, there is no official yes or no answer for the federal marijuana legalization issue as of March 21. The Supreme Court could decide in 2017 to go ahead and hear the Colorado case and might decide at that time to make marijuana legal across America... or not.

Alternatively, some feel positive that there will be a federal legalization of marijuana because, as CBS News reported on March 21, some cannabis opponents also favor the seemingly contradictory idea of legalizing marijuana.

For instance, "Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman who represented the state in this lawsuit said she continues to be concerned about the risks posed by legalized marijuana, but believes that 'this lawsuit is without legal basis and is not the way to fix America's broken drug policy.'"

In the end, marijuana legalization may be pushed by the fact that there are several ways to make money by making cannabis accessible for recreational use at the federal level.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, marijuana legalization advocates have several positive statistical reports based from states that have collected tax revenue since marijuana was legalized for recreational use in Colorado and Washington.

Marijuana research cannot start in American until marijuana is legalized at the federal level
Currently, marijuana research is on hold because it is not legalize at the federal level. (Photo by Michel Porro/Getty Images)

With multi-million dollar surpluses, other states will likely want to push for the issue of marijuana legalization to ease some of their budget deficits. A good example is the state of Kentucky, where Governor Matt Bevin is slashing the budget due to an upcoming crisis with the teacher's retirement fund.

By legalizing marijuana in the state of Kentucky, the state can collect important revenue that will allow the state budget to fund vital programs that are currently being cut, according to the Kentucky Law Journal.

Emphasizing this point, a report by 13 News Now quotes Tom Angell, the chairman of the Marijuana Majority, stating the following about states opposing marijuana legalization.

"At the end of the day, if officials in Nebraska and Oklahoma are upset about how much time and resources their police are spending on marijuana cases, as they said in their briefs, they should join Colorado in replacing prohibition with legalization. That will allow their criminal justice systems to focus on real crime, and it will generate revenue that can be used to pay for healthcare, education and public safety programs."
[Picture by Hulton Archive/Stringer/Getty Images]