DENVER — Colorado already is being sued by two neighboring states for legalizing marijuana. Now, the state faces groundbreaking lawsuits from its own residents, who are asking a federal judge to order the new recreational industry to close.
The owners of a mountain hotel and a southern Colorado horse farm argue in a pair of lawsuits filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Denver that the 2012 marijuana-legalization measure has hurt their property and that the marijuana industry is stinky and attracts unsavory visitors.
The lawsuits are the first in any state that has legalized recreational or medical marijuana in which its own residents are appealing to the federal government to block pot laws.
"It is a bedrock principle of the United States Constitution that federal law is the supreme law of the land," said David Thompson, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs. "The people of Colorado are free to advocate for a change (in federal drug law), but they must do so through their elected representatives in Congress."
The lawsuits are also the first to claim that federal racketeering laws allow them to win damages from pot businesses that flout federal law. The plaintiffs have not specified amounts they would seek.
Lawyers say the racketeering approach is a new one.