The Supreme Court on Monday will hear arguments in the case of a Colorado pot dispensary’s attempt to use the state’s marijuana law to halt the expansion of the state-legal marijuana industry.
The justices heard arguments in a case that could end up deciding the future of Colorado’s pot industry, with some state lawmakers saying the state could become the first in the country to ban the sale of recreational marijuana.
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Colorado can ban the cultivation, sale and possession of marijuana for recreational use.
The state also must allow local governments to regulate the industry, and the federal government must allow states to set their own marijuana regulations.
But in a 5-4 ruling on Monday, the justices said the state can’t prohibit marijuana dispensaries from expanding in a way that would create a “pot czar” and make it easier for them to attract new customers.
“We do not accept that the Colorado statute is unconstitutional,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his dissent.
“We do, however, disagree that the Act creates a czar.
The Colorado statute, unlike the federal law, does not prohibit the state from banning the sale or cultivation of marijuana.
And it does not impose on the state the burden of proof of the existence of a state-regulated marijuana industry.”
The case, Colorado v.
United States, was brought by the Colorado Cannabis Dispensary (CCD) and other marijuana-related businesses that challenged the state law, which allows for cultivation, sales and possession.
It also argues that the state has an “open-ended” regulatory scheme that gives the businesses too much power and creates barriers to entry.
The ruling said the plaintiffs have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy, and that the marijuana dispensaries have the right to exercise that expectation.
In a separate dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that the law “does not regulate marijuana like any other substance, and it does, in fact, create a complex regulatory structure with a broad array of competing interests that the government may not be able to fully achieve.”
The Supreme Court did not comment on the dissent, which was filed by the conservative-leaning American Civil Liberties Union.
The case is Colorado v Colorado, 12-5.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.